How to Watch BBC Iplayer on Your Ipad From Outside the UK

If you want to watch BBC Iplayer on a PC/Laptop – Try this post first – How to Use a Proxy to access Iplayer

My brand new shiny IPad has been in my possession for a few months now, but to be honest I’m still not sure how it works. My lack of knowledge is mainly due to the fact that I don’t get to use it that much as all my family just loves it.   It’s nearly always in use for web browsing, games, apps and that sort of thing.

However after writing this post about watching the BBC Iplayer outside the UK on a PC above, I kept getting emails about whether you could also use Identity Cloaker on the iPad as well.

Anyway so I thought I’d better check it out  and surprisingly, it’s actually pretty simple to do.  The reason is that the vast majority of their security servers are VPN enabled. That means  all you have to do is set a simple VPN connection on your IPad to a specific server and then you can enable it when required.   The functionality is built into the iPad so nothing too difficult is required – let’s show an example for accessing the BBC Iplayer channels abroad.

So How Can You Watch BBC Iplayer Abroad? Even From the US on Your IPad?

Right, so most of us have discovered that if you happen to be outsde the UK, then the BBC Iplayer won’t work properly.  When you connect to the IPlayer site it checks your IP address to see where you are located.  If it discovers that you are connecting from outside the United Kingdom then you won’t be able to watch anything ! To be fair, BBC Iplayer is not the only media site to do this.   Hulu blocks all non-US access – the same goes for ABC, NBC and Pandora too. The great little media player from the French broadcaster M6Replay is also limited to access within France (if you know someone learning French get them to check it out – it’s great practice watching the Simpsons in French!)

The solution on the PC is very simple, you just use something like Identity Cloaker to conceal your true IP address and present one from the correct country.  The solution is actually similar on the IPad (you can use the same technique on the Mac/Iphone/Ipod as well) – you just need to connect to a server based in the UK (or which ever country you need).

For this all you need to do is to set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to the country in question, for the BBC it’s obviously the UK. This video shows the steps needed, it’s called Setting up a VPN on an iPad

If you prefer pictures, then here’s how you set up the VPN on the iPad it takes about a minute if  you have the information to hand.

On your iPad -

  1. Select Settings
  2. Select General
  3. Select Networks
  4. Select VPN

This should bring you to this screen -

Ipad VPN Connection Screen

You can see in this screen I’ve already set up a US VPN which I use for Hulu and Pandora.  Here you just need to select Add VPN Configuration and you should reach this screen.

It looks complicated but honestly it’s not.

You just need to leave it set to L2TP at the top and then put the following details in.  You’ll need to get the details from Identity Cloaker for section 2 and 6 which you can find in their members area.  If you’re using a different VPN provider it’s likely you’ll have to do the same (although a couple publish the information I think)

  1. Description – Give it a name like UK VPN, US VPN then you can select quickly which country you need
  2. Server – Get the enabled VPN server names from the members area.
  3. Account Name – Your IDC Username
  4. RSA SecurID – Ignore this
  5. Password – Your IDC password.
  6. Secret – Get the VPN Secret Name from the members area.
That’s the tricky bit over with, next click Save from the top right hand corner.  The next step is to enable your VPN connection.
Connecting to the UK VPN
To do this you simply select whichever VPN configuration that you need, so if you’re in the US and want to watch the BBC then create and enable a UK VPN.  In this screen just select enable and it will turn on your VPN – this will route your connection through the UK VPN servers.
The status will change to connected and in the top left hand side of your Ipad it will show that the VPN is connected like this.
UK VPN Connected
When this VPN is connected, all your traffic is encrypted and routed through whichever server you are connected to.  It’s best to disconnect after watching unless you want all your browsing routed through the UK.
If you haven’t got Identity Cloaker yet – I can definitely recommend it, it’s probably best to try the 10 day trial first to see how you get on with it.  They have a very professional set up and the servers can cope with streaming video without any issues .  They have many UK and US servers plus ones in France, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Sweden, Australia to name but a few – all included in the subscription.
This method  should also work with other VPN providers who have set their servers up properly though – just ask them.
07/04/13 – Updated section on VPN – as someone pointed out the explanation wasn’t very clear.

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{ 32 comments to read ... please submit one more! }

  1. Hi Ollie,
    Sorry for the late reply – possibly too late!
    Yes you are correct – you would then get an account name and password to create the VPN.

    When you go back you can either delete the VPN if you don’t want to use it, or simply don’t enable it.
    If the VPN is not turned on – then all your settings are the same.

    Hope that helps,

  2. So I’m in Germany right now but live in the UK.
    Am I correct in saying that in order to watch BBC iPlayer from my iPad4, I need to sign up for a ten day trial of Identity Coaker – they give me some user names and passwords, and this will then allow me to watch bbc?

    What about when I go home, how do I change my settings back to normal?


  3. Can it be done on an Android phone?

    • HI Charles, Yes shouldn’t be a problem on Android either. Go to home/Menu/settings/Wireless and Network – then setup a VPN as above.

      However I haven’t tried this yet myself !! I’ll test it out and post here shortly.

  4. I’m heading for panama to my casa in Chiriqui, will this work in central america

  5. 07/04/13 – Updated section on VPN – as someone pointed out it was a bit rubbish.

    Does this mean we need a seperate VPN provider ?

    • Hi Rob,
      Yes you need a VPN provider, not sure what you mean by separate. Virtually all the Identity Cloaker servers are VPN enabled. If you’re using some other service you’ll have to check with them. Lots just use proxy servers which you can still set up, just use the browser settings for proxies and get the port name from your provider. Proxies still work for the BBC but not for lots of other services in many countries – VPNs work for pretty much everything at the moment.

  6. Hi IphoneDev,

    No you can’t get into trouble :) all you are doing is changing your IP address and connecting via a VPN, something millions of people do everyday to check emails, connect back to office, work remotely from home etc. Perhaps they may block this method one day – but it’s been working from day 1 for the BBC for example.

  7. Yes, I wana ask same, can this thing get us in trouble?

  8. @Kirk – no it’s not a stupid question. Unfortunately it won’t count as your UK usage allowance. Personally I’d only use over a Wifi connection – streaming over 3G would cost a fortune and to be honest haven’t tried it.

    @Bob – No you can’t get in trouble with the police – simply because it’s not criminal. It does break the terms and conditions of many sites like BBC Iplayer for instance. But they’ve made no attempt to block people for many years despite literally whole communities across the world doing this.

    The BBC for instance do occasionally target the sites that sell ‘Watch UK TV/BBC” type services – they just send a letter to their hosting companies threatening legal action and they normally close down.

    You’ll find no mention on the Identity Cloaker site of any of this ;) Not that you could ever be traced anyway as your identity is cloaked.

    @Bob – Just login as comment above – the secret name is in the ipad/Iphone link in the user section top left after you login.

    Hope this helps.

  9. Sorry missed some comments caught in my Spam filter !!

    @Michelle – yep works fine from South Africa – they have many users from there.

    @Vicky – Just login here – you’ll be in the members area and click on the Ipad/Iphone page for all the details and instructions.

  10. What is the secret name, I have looked and cannot find it can u please describe it

  11. Is it illegal and if you did this could you get in trouble with the police?

  12. Probably a stupid question, but how is this reflected on your data usage if using 3G? Does the fact the prgramme thinks you are in uk mean it uses your uk allowance, or will it still know you are abroad from the phobe signal? Only ask as going to france but want to be able to use ipad cheaply :)

  13. Where do I find my IDC and how do I access the Members Area. I’m in Australia and I’m desperate for some English tv. Please help.

  14. Is it possible to do this in South Africa? I am just starting on this quest now . I lived in the UK for years and miss the BBC and the quality programmes.

  15. Will this work with a ipad4 just having wifi? Or do I need to have a phone server?

  16. Hi Barry,

    Yes you can watch Sky Go using this, I use it to watch the cricket and football when I’m travelling. In fact you can actually turn off the VPN after starting to watch a program as well. Sky just checks at the initial connection.

  17. I am about to travel around the world for 8 months and this would be a great way of watching tv on the move on my iPad. ….I can view also Sky Go on my iPad at the moment as I have an account with Sky.
    Will I be able to see my Sky Go programmes using this system ?

  18. Thanks for comment Jacquiline,

    There are a few more on this site – here’s one on accessing Australian sites using a proxy for example

  19. Thank you for posting this because my son has one of these and he was asking me how to view things like you are talking about here and I had no idea what to tell him. Now that I have read this I can pass it on to him and see if this is what he was looking for. Do you have other articles about these Ipad and Iplayer things?

  20. BBC1′s daytime TV revamp has increased its popularity. Their ratings started spiking after it ditched afternoon children’s programs. That strategy has as expected led to increased viewing of the channel, with BBC2 and Channel 4 – the main ratings losers so far. I’m sure there are plenty of brits in the U.S. who will appreciate knowing this little black hat trick.

  21. Call me a noob, but for a long time, I avoided downloading those freeware IP masking apps for fear of catching malware or spam. So I just gave up trying to improve my privacy. I do feel better about buying a program like this. That means many hours of good entertainment Tele.

  22. Call me a noob, but for a long time, I was rather worried about all the freeware IP proxies and stuff. In the end I just stopped trying to improve my privacy. This program makes me feel better about buying a program like this. Oh and of course, I get to watch UK TV now as well!

  23. I love the BBC. This network shows some of the best documentaries. And unless I am mistaken, The BBC also has a production company that has funded / produced some very good independent films. I was just on a trailer watching tangent recently and was surprised by how many films have the BBC logo in the opening credits. So they are a major contributor to quality entertainment.

  24. Hi Jamie,

    Sorry perhaps it’s not that clear. You get the username and password from your Proxy/VPN provider, so in this case I used my subscription from Identity Cloaker – who give me my own login details. If you used a different service or perhaps one through work you’d use your username and password from them.

    Hope that helps.

  25. Hi,
    Sorry not sure where I get the username and password from.


  26. Yep absolutely, just set up a UK VPN as demonstrated.

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