How to Test Your Internet Speed on the iPad

Ookla

The ability to test the speed of your Internet connection is a great way to troubleshoot performance issues with your iPad, even if you aren't sure if the problem is with your Wi-Fi.  Many apps rely on the Internet to download content, so a slow connection equates to a slow app.   

To test your iPad, you should download Ookla's Mobile Speed Test. The app is a free download. To test your iPad's Wi-Fi speed, simply launch the app, give it permission to use location services if it asks, and tap the big "Begin Test" button.

You should test your connection more than once to get an idea of your average speed.  It's possible for Wi-Fi to slow down for a few seconds and then pop back up again, so doing multiple tests accounts for any weird variance.  

You should also test your Internet speed in multiple locations in your house or apartment, especially areas where you are noticing a slow down in performance.  When a Wi-Fi signal travels through wall, appliances and other obstructions, the signal can become weaker.   If you do find that you have a dead spot (or, more likely, very slow spot), you can try repositioning the router to see if that speeds up the connection.   

What's a Good Speed?

Before you can tell whether or not you are getting a good speed, you'll need to know the bandwidth capabilities of your Internet connection.   This may appear on the bill from your Internet Service Provider (ISP).  You can also test your connection using a desktop or laptop that is wired into your network via an Ethernet cable connected directly to the router.

 You can use the web version of Ookla's speed test to find out the approximate maximum bandwidth.  

Anything under 3 Mbs is considered slow these days, and if you want to stream in HD quality, you will want at least 5-8 Mbs.  And realistically, you want 10+ Mbs to account for any sudden drops otherwise your connection may need to occasionally buffer.

  And for those who want to stream 4K or UHD video, you'll want at least 25 Mbs.    

If you mostly just stream music and/or browse the web, 3-5 Mbs is fine.  It takes about 1 to 1.5 Mbs to get clean, crisp audio out of Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming music apps.  

The "Ping" time can also be an important indicator.  Ideally, you want it under 25.  However, you probably won't notice much unless it consistently hits 150+.  The Ping time is the time it takes for data to go from your iPad to the server.  This is different than the other "Mbs" number which tests how much data is being transferred.  Ping time tests latency, which can cause lag.  This is especially noticeable when video conferencing or playing multiplayer games.

Wow. I'm Going Faster Than My Laptop!

It's actually possible to exceed your "maximum" on your iPad if you have a newer model and your router supports using multiple antennas.  This is generally the case for dual-band routers that broadcast on 2.4 and 5 Ghz.  Basically, your iPad is making two connections to the router and using both at the same time.   

This can be used as a technique to speed up your Wi-Fi if you are having problems.  The newest 802.11ac routers even use a beaming technology to focus the signal on your devices.

 But you have to own both a new router that supports that standard and a newer iPad that supports it.  The iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4 and iPad Pro models support this new technology.

I'm Getting a Slow Speed.  Now What?

If your tests show your iPad running slow, don't panic. Instead, reboot your iPad and rerun the tests. This will fix most problems, but if you are still having issues, you can try resetting the network settings on your iPad.  You can do this by opening the Settings app, choosing General from the left-side menu and then Reset from the General settings.  In the new screen, choose "Reset Network Settings".

  You will need to log in to your Wi-Fi router again after choosing this, so make sure you know the password.

You should also try rebooting your router.  Sometimes, older or cheaper routers can drag down the longer they are left on, especially if there are a lot of devices connecting to the router.  

Still having problems? Check out our guide to boosting your Wi-Fi strength.