The iPad is a great device for watching movies and full-length feature films. Going to the movies can be expensive, and lots of people ask us how to watch the latest flicks for free.
Many people are aware of movie streaming services like Netflix or Blinkbox, but you have to pay a monthly charge for some online streaming services; there are others offering movies for free.
In this feature we're going to widen your movie-watching horizons. So get some popcorn and discover the best ways to watch the latest full-length movies for free.
Watch movies on iPad for free with App Store Apps
There is a range of streaming services operating legally on the App Store. In general they offer a few older classics, along with a few adverts. While you're not going to get the latest blockbusters here. These are great apps for watching free movies on your iPad:
- Popcornflix: This is a great app to start with. Popcornflix serves up lots free movies. The free films on offer tend to be made-for-TV style movies, but there are some classics like Austin Powers. It serves up ads between movies.
- OV Guide: This also has a lot of movies. It seems to have a wide range, although we struggled to find anything we'd heard of. It seems to have lots of movies that are almost like the ones you know: "An Ant's Life" and "Deadly Attraction".
- BBC iPlayer: Don't forget to check BBC iPlayer for films. The BBC has started to secure rights for streaming movies. So click on Categories > Films to view all the movies.
- Crackle: This has a much better range of movies. They're not the latest hits but Crackle does have big hitters. We found movies like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and American Graffiti. Unfortunately the app isn't available on the UK app store. But if you have an American App Store account, you can use a VPN to get it working in the UK - here's our list of the best VPNs for iPhone and iPad.
Interested in other free iOS apps? Take a look at our list of the best free apps for iPhone
Watch movies for free on your iPad with YouTube
YouTube is a massively underrated service for watching full-length films, as many people fail to realise that there's a range of feature-length movies on YouTube.
People with registered accounts can upload movies longer than 15 minutes, and YouTube will stream up to 11 hours of video from a single file.
The challenge with watching movies on YouTube is finding decent films to watch amongst all the noise of short video clips. Also, some people upload videos that they don't own the rights to - the latest movies are usually taken down within a couple of days.
If you want to watch a movie, open YouTube and search for it - you'll be surprised how often you find what you are looking for.
For those unsure of what they want to watch, Reddit has a great sub called /r/fullmoviesonyoutube. If you sort it by Top and Last Week you'll find a lot of great movies on YouTube to watch.
Watch movies on iPad for free: take out a free trial
Another neat option, at least for a short while, is to take out a free trial. You can get a free trial (typically a month) of most of the movie streaming services. You have to sign up, but if you cancel (usually within 30 days) you can move on for free. By going from one service to another you can get a couple of months free:
- Netflix: Probably the biggest name in online streaming. Starting at £5.99 per month for an SD package with a 30-day free trial.
- Amazon Prime Instant Video: £5.99 per month (or £79 per year along with Amazon One-Day delivery). One month free trial.
- Now TV with Sky Movies: Slightly more expensive at £9.99 per month but the 30-day free trial is worth taking out. Sky says it has 16 new premieres every month, and there are some big hitters here.
If you are planning to take out a subscription with the intention of cancelling before you are charged, remember that it's 30-day trials: not one month. The reason they offer a 30-day free trial is so people think it's one-month and get charged on the 31st day. Count up 29 days and set a reminder in your calendar to cancel the service.
See also: How to get US Netflix in the UK
Watch movies online for free with Sky and Virgin Media
If you have a Sky TV or Virgin Media service you can watch the movies and television shows from your Sky or Virgin account on the iPad. Both Sky and Virgin have apps available on the App Store:
If you are already a subscriber to these TV services you can watch movies, and TV shows, on your iPad for free.