How to Browse the Web on Your iPad

Using Safari on the iPad

If you have a printer on your wireless network, you can print Web pages from the iPad Safari browser.
If you have a printer on your wireless network, you can print Web pages from the iPad Safari browser.
Screen capture by HowStuffWorks staff

All iPads ship with Apple's Safari browser already installed, just like other Apple devices that can access the Internet. Apple continues optimizing Safari for use on an iPad. For example, Safari for iOS 5, scheduled for release in fall 2011, adds tabbed browsing to the mobile experience, a feature that's already part of Safari on Macs and PCs [source: Apple].

Safari on the iPad is fairly intuitive to use. Just like with any other app, a quick tap on the Safari browser icon opens the app. Here are some tips on browsing with Safari:

  • Quickly double tap anything on a page to zoom in to that spot. A subsequent double tap will zoom you back out to your original view.
  • Tap a link to follow it, or tap and hold it to open up a menu of other options, like opening the link in a new page.
  • Click the small icon to the left of the URL text box that looks like a rectangle with an arrow in it. This will open up options to add a bookmark, send the link through e-mail, print the page, or add the link to your home screen as an icon for rapid access.

Many users stick with Safari as their default browser, but there are plenty of options available for users who want to expand their tablet's Web browsing horizons. The following are some other browser apps you might want to try, along with their features for improving iPad Web surfing:

  • Atomic Browser -- Browse in full screen mode, load multiple pages simultaneously in different tabs and access data from your Dropbox storage.
  • Browser Duo -- View two separate Web pages side-by-side while holding your iPad horizontally.
  • Grazing Web Browser -- Graze through your favorite sites by loading them in tabs on a space-saving sidebar.
  • iLunascape -- Access the tabs and buttons you use most often at the bottom of the screen, where your thumbs typically rest when holding a tablet.
  • Safe Browser -- Set content filtering for kids of different ages.
  • Switch -- Let multiple iPad users each have their own personal password-protected browsing experience.
  • Terra -- Password-protect the app itself to prevent unauthorized use, and enable Private Browsing to prevent storing information about the sites you visit.
  • iCab Mobile -- Packed with many of the features listed above, all in one app.

As you dive in with your iPad, no matter which browser you use, the experience will be quite different from a computer. Though you always have the option to dock the iPad, adding a keyboard and touchpad when you're staying in one place for a while, you're probably using the iPad for its mobility with nothing else attached. That means tapping and swiping on the screen replaces the mouse, and an onscreen keyboard replaces the tactile feedback of clicking computer keys. Consequently, your browsing might be more error prone on the iPad, especially while you're new to it [source: Kidman].

In this article, we've tapped into the unique aspects of using the Web on your iPad. Check out the next page for more on iPad Web browsing.

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More Great Links


  • Aamoth, Doug. "Top 10 Alternative iPad Web Browsers." Time Techland. Time, Inc. Dec. 22, 2010. (July 27, 2011)
  • App Chronicles. "3 iPad Alternative Browsers to Safari for a Richer Internet Experience." Apr. 26, 2010. (July 27, 2011)
  • Apple. "iOS 5 Features, Safari." (July 29, 2011)
  • Apple. "iPad, From the App Store." (July 28, 2011)
  • Apple. "iPad, Safari." (July 29, 2011)
  • Kidman, Angus. "Study Suggests iPad Browsing Less Effective Than Using Apps." Lifehacker. Allure Media. July 8, 2011. (July 28, 2011)