How to Watch Movies on the iPad (Rent, Stream or Buy)
The iPad is a great way to watch movies or catch up on TV series with your own on demand marathon of shows. In this guide we’ll show you how to rent or buy a Movie on the iPad and share a list of apps you can use to stream movies and TV shows for a small monthly fee.
In this iPad movie rental and buying guide we’ll cover prices, important things to know about renting a movie on the iPad as well as tips and tricks to save money and get a better experience.
All of Apple’s iPads allow users to buy or rent movies to play back while offline, but you will need an Internet connection to get started. You can download a full movie to playback when you are not online or you can start streaming the movie to the iPad after a small amount has downloaded. Depending on your Internet connection speed this may take as little as 5 minutes or as long as 30-45 minutes.
On the iPad you can search for movies and watch multiple trailers, read reviews and see Rotten Tomatoes ratings before deciding to buy or rent. Users can also rent movies on the iPad from Amazon Instant Video, but in our experience it is not as smooth of an experience.
How Much do iPad Movies Cost?
Rentals range from 99 cents to about $7.99 with the average standard definition rental priced at $3.99 and the average HD rental at $4.99. There are exceptions to this rule for movies that arrive early and independent films which typically command a higher price. Hollywood blockbusters may jump the price up to $5.99 for a HD rental for the first few weeks after release. Apple typically offers at least one 99 cent rental per week, which may be a well-known movie or something independent that caught the eye of an Apple employee.
Many new releases arrive for users to buy on the iPad before they are available to rent. For example, Riddick is only available to buy now, with iPad rentals coming in the next few weeks.
Buying an iPad movie can range from $10 to $20, though sales may bring prices lower on occasions.
How to Rent a Movie on the iPad
The easiest way to rent a movie on the iPad is to rent it directly on the iPad. You can transfer a movie you rented on your computer to the iPad, but it is easier to go direct to the iPad when possible.
To rent the movie and download it you will need an Internet connection, and based on the size of these movies it should not be a 4G LTE connection built-in to the iPad or a hotspot on your phone. A movie can easily be 3-4GB in size.
Tap on iTunes on the iPad.
Tap on Movies at the bottom of the screen and start browsing for the movie you want to watch. You can download several movies to the iPad, but are limited by how much free space you have.
After you tap on a movie you are interested in you can watch trailers, see reviews and read about the plot. To the right is a toggle for SD and HD versions which adjusts the price. Tap on rent to rent the movie on your iPad.
Tapping once on rent will change the color of the button and make the text say ”Rent Movie” which helps prevent accidental rentals. Tap on this a second time and when prompted enter your iTunes password.
This will start the download process. You can see the movie downloading as well as an estimated time to download in the downloads section of the iTunes app on the iPad.
When the movie is completely downloaded or a small portion has downloaded you can start watching it. To do this you need to leave iTunes and go to the Videos app. Here you can pick the movie you want to watch and click play. If the movie still needs to download you will need to wait until enough is downloaded until you can tap on the Play icon.
If you rent the movie you have 30 days from the time you rented the movie on the iPad to start playing it. This allows you to stock up on movies to watch on a airplane or trip ahead of time. Once you tap play a warning will let you know that you only have 24 hours to finish watching the movie rental. Keep this in mind before tapping play.
If you rent a movie you can not re-download it to watch again, so do not delete it until you are done. If you buy one you can delete and re-download as you need to free up space on your iPad.
There are not usually many deals on iPad movie rentals aside from the 99 cent rentals, but there are often sales for movies you then own on the iPad, Apple TV and other Apple products. Look for deals to own from $4.99 to $9.99 and occasionally deals on movie series that cut the prices dramatically.
If you have a fast connection on your computer but no WiFi to get the same speeds on your iPad you can download a rental on your computer and transfer it to your iPad. You cannot transfer a rental from iPad to another device.
If you want to skip paying rental frees you can join Netflix, Amazon Instant Video or Hulu Plus to stream movies and TV shows to the iPad anytime you have an Internet connection. You can also get movies with the HBO Go app and other premium channel apps if you are already a subscriber. Many of these services are under $10 a month.