Can I watch England vs Iceland, Wales vs Northern Ireland and France vs Republic of Ireland in the European Championships on my iPad or iPhone? What's the best free app for streaming live football coverage at Euro 2016?

The Euro 2016 football tournament started on Friday 10 June and will carry on until the final on Sunday 10 July, and football fans will be desperate to watch every match... or at least every match featuring England, Wales, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland or the team they drew in the office sweepstake. But if you can't reach a TV, you may want to know how to watch Euro 2016 football matches on your iPad or iPhone. Here's how to do it.

There are 52 matches to watch - that's 4,680 minutes of sheer hell, not counting injury time, extra time and penalties - with the rights to show each game spread across various broadcasters in each country (the BBC and ITV are splitting the matches here in the UK). But there are also online and app alternatives. This makes things potentially complicated, but we're here to explain the options for watching live European Championship football on your iPad or iPhone.

In fact, watching Euro 2016 on your iPhone or iPad - and particularly England vs Iceland, Wales vs Northern Ireland and France vs Republic of Ireland, at least for the totally unbiased football fans here at Macworld UK - is reassuringly easy. First of all, you'll need find out which channel the match you want to watch is on. Here's the split of the matches between ITV and BBC. Then you'll need to pick the right app. In this article we explain how to watch live video of every Euro 2016 game on an iPad or iPhone, for free.

[If you're bored of the football, there's another sporting event taking place that might entertain you. Wimbledon 2014 - find out how to watch Wimbledon on your iPhone, iPad or Mac here.]

How to watch Euro 2016 football matches live on iPad or iPhone, for free: England vs Slovakia (and other matches on ITV)

Mon 20 June: England vs Slovakia. 8pm UK time. Shown live on ITV

England vs Slovakia kicks off today - 20 June 2016 - at 8pm UK time, or 9pm if you happen to be in France. It's easy to watch ITV matches live on your iPad or iPhone: it's the same routine as for the BBC matches, except these ones are on the ITV Hub app (formerly ITV Player). This allows live streaming of programmes on the various TV channels to iPads and iPhones, via both Wi-Fi and 3G.

(The ITV Player app was launched just a week before the start of the Euro 2012 football tournament, incidentally, so the makers know how big a part of its demand is down to international football coverage.)

How to watch Euro 2016 on iPad or iPhone: ITV Hub

Download the ITV Hub app - it's free - and select your chosen channel from the list along the top. You want ITV, in this case. Hit the turquoise play button in the middle of the screen to start live-streaming whatever's on right now. You can see what's playing now and next in the labels below the main screen.

Alternatively, you can tap the Live TV button at the top right, to see what's playing on each of the ITV channels. Tap one to jump to that channel.

Read next: Best TV guide apps for iPad & iPhone | How to watch Game of Thrones on iPad or iPhone in the UK

How to watch Euro 2016 football matches live on iPad or iPhone, for free: Russia vs Wales

Mon 20th June: Russia vs Wales. 8pm UK time. Shown live on ITV4

Russia vs Wales is being broadcast live on ITV4, so you'll need to use the ITV Hub app. Use the same method outlined above for the England vs Slovakia game.

How to watch Euro 2016 football matches live on iPad or iPhone, for free: Northern Ireland vs Germany (and other matches on BBC)

21st June: Northern Ireland vs Germany. 5pm UK time. Shown live on BBC1

Northern Ireland vs Germany is on BBC1, so the BBC iPlayer app is your friend. Download the app if you haven't got it already.

How to watch Euro 2016 football live on iPad or iPhone: iPlayer

To stream coverage of the match live (or as near to live as these things get - when we've watched matches on iPlayer we've noticed they tend to be a minute behind the TV), tap the Menu button at the top-left and select 'one', under Channels. You'll see what's on now and next. Tap the red 'i' icon to start it playing.

How to watch Euro 2016 football live on iPad or iPhone: iPlayer

What if you've got something else to get on with while keeping one eye on the game? You're in luck. Thanks to the 'picture in picture' feature that was added in iOS 9, you can keep watching video in a small window in one part of the screen while you do something else on your iPad. (But not iPhone - this is one of iOS 9's iPad-only features.)

Start the match running as we explain above, then press the Home button on your iPad. You'll be taken back the Home screen, but iPlayer will by default keep the video playing in a mini-window, like this: 

How to watch Euro 2016 football live on iPad & iPhone: iPlayer

If you start up another app, the video will carry on playing in its little window.

There are three sizes of window (that's the biggest one above); use pinch and unpinch gestures to change its size. You can move it around the four corners of the screen. Tap the mini-window to bring up three action icons: the X closes it, the pause icon obviously pauses it, and left-pointing arrow icon the left expands it to up the whole screen again.

How to catch up on matches you missed in iPlayer

It's also easy to catch up with games afterwards. Major matches are likely to be shown prominently on the home page, and you'll just need to tap the image and then tap the 'i' to start it playing. If you can't see the match you want, use the search function at the top-right of the screen.

How to watch Euro 2016 live on iPad or iPhone, for free: BBC iPlayer

(iPlayer can stream video live over 3G/4G or Wi-Fi, but bear your data limits in mind. The best option is to stream the coverage over Wi-Fi if possible.)

How to watch Euro 2016 football matches live on iPad or iPhone: Italy vs Republic of Ireland

22nd June: Italy vs Republic of Ireland. 8pm UK time. Shown live on ITV

Italy vs Republic of Ireland is being shown live on ITV, so you'll need to use the ITV Hub app. Use the same method outlined above for the England vs Slovakia game.

How to watch Euro 2016 on iPad or iPhone: Second round/last 16

We're now into the second round - the last 16. Amazingly enough, England, Wales, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland all made it through from the group stage.

Here's how to watch Wales vs Northern Ireland, France vs Republic of Ireland, England vs Iceland and the rest of Euro 2016's second-round matches on your iPad or iPhone.

Saturday 25 June: Switzerland v Poland. 2pm UK time (Saint-Etienne). Shown live on BBC1

Switzerland v Poland is being shown live on BBC1, so you'll need to use the iPlayer app. Use the same method outlined above for the Northern Ireland vs Germany game.

Saturday 25 June: Wales v Northern Ireland. 5pm UK time (Paris). Shown live on BBC1

Wales v Northern Ireland is being shown live on BBC1, so you'll need to use the iPlayer app. Use the same method outlined above for the Northern Ireland vs Germany game.

Saturday 25 June: Croatia v Portugal. 8pm UK time (Lens). Shown live on ITV

Croatia v Portugal is being shown live on ITV, so you'll need to use the ITV Hub app. Use the same method outlined above for the England vs Slovakia game.

Sunday 26 June: France v Republic of Ireland. 2pm UK time (Lyon). Shown live on ITV

France vs Republic of Ireland is being shown live on ITV, so you'll need to use the ITV Hub app. Use the same method outlined above for the England vs Slovakia game.

Sunday 26 June: Germany v Slovakia. 5pm UK time (Lille). Shown live on ITV

Germany v Slovakia is being shown live on ITV, so you'll need to use the ITV Hub app. Use the same method outlined above for the England vs Slovakia game.

Sunday 26 June: Hungary v Belgium. 8pm UK time (Toulouse). Shown live on BBC1

Hungary v Belgium is being shown live on BBC1, so you'll need to use the iPlayer app. Use the same method outlined above for the Northern Ireland vs Germany game.

Monday 27 June: Italy v Spain. 5pm UK time (Saint-Denis). Shown live on BBC1

Italy v Spain is being shown live on BBC1, so you'll need to use the iPlayer app. Use the same method outlined above for the Northern Ireland vs Germany game.

Monday 27 June: England v Iceland. 8pm UK time (Nice). Shown live on ITV

England v Iceland is being shown live on ITV, so you'll need to use the ITV Hub app. Use the same method outlined above for the England vs Slovakia game.

How to watch Euro 2016 on iPad or iPhone: Quarter-finals

Since Wales are playing Northern Ireland in the last 16, we know that at least one Home Nation team will make it through to the quarter-finals. Here's when those matches will take place.

The allocation of these matches to the TV broadcasters will be made after the last-16 matches are completed. We'll update this article as soon as we know which channel you'll find these matches on.

Thursday 30 June: QF1 (Switzerland/Poland v Croatia/Portugal). 8pm UK time (Marseille)

Friday 1 July: QF2 (Wales/Northern Ireland v Hungary/Belgium). 8pm UK time (Lille)

Saturday 2 July: QF3 (Germany/Slovakia v Italy/Spain). 8pm UK time (Bordeaux)

Sunday 3 July: QF4 (France/Republic of Ireland v England/Iceland). 8pm UK time (Saint-Denis)

How to watch Euro 2016 football matches live on iPad or iPhone: Future England, Wales, Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland matches

Any further participation in Euro 2016 is obviously dependent on results going their way, but in theory the Home Nations sides could be in action right up to and including the final. God willing, here's when you'll be able to see them play:

Semi-finals: 6 & 7 July
Final: 10 July

All of these games will be shown live on either the BBC, or ITV, or both, so you'll be able to use the techniques outlined above to watch the games live on your iPad or iPhone.

How to watch Euro 2016 online for free

If you'd rather watch England vs Wales on your Mac or PC, it's easy to get a lifestream of the game online. Our colleagues at PC Advisor have a guide here: How to watch Euro 2016 online for free.

How to watch Euro 2016 football matches live on iPad or iPhone: Radio options

If a match is going on while you're supposed to be working, or you can't give the game your full attention, or you just don't like the ITV commentators, consider following the game on the radio. The BBC iPlayer Radio app is a good option here, although there are solid alternatives such as TuneIn Radio Pro.

How to watch more sporting events on Apple devices:

How to watch Ashes cricket on your iPad or iPhone

How to watch Rugby Six Nations on iPad or iPhone

How to watch the Super Bowl on iPad, iPhone or Apple TV

How to watch Wimbledon on iPad or iPhone

and don't forget festival season: How to watch Glastonbury 2016 on iPad or iPhone

Read our feature on using iOS apps to enjoy films, TV shows, home movies and web video on your iPad or iPhone

How to watch Euro 2016 football matches live on iPad or iPhone, for free