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.