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Want to download movies on your iPad? Here’s how to do it

Let’s face it, the iPad is becoming the new laptop. The battery lasts longer, it’s lighter, it won’t burn your lap, and you don’t even have to take it out of your bag as you pass through airport security. Better still, you can easily stash it in your bag for that inevitable downtime at work or when eating lunch by your lonesome.

It’s a highly-capable device, adorned with a gorgeous screen and access to a robust selection of apps, and one that works perfectly as a smaller screen for watching your favorite films on the go. Whether you want to buy SD new releases such as Despicable Me 2 and Captain America: Winter Soldier through iTunes, or merely prefer to rent forgotten classics such as Mrs. Doubtfire and Good Morning, Vietnam in an effort to remember greats such as the late Robin Williams, Apple provides a simple method for doing so.

If you’d rather, you can even convert and directly upload your own catalog of movies to your device for free — that is, assuming the content isn’t copyrighted. Blame it on the powers that be.

Related: How to watch TV on an iPad.

Choose a method:

How to download movies using iTunes

Although purchasing movies on iTunes can be rather costly, it’s also the easiest way to download and watch movies without resorting to third-party apps and illegal download methods. Apple’s selection of movies is incredibly extensive, ranging from blockbuster releases and old-school films, many of which occasionally go on sale at discounted prices as part of various promotions. Moreover, iTunes also exhibits partnerships with various studios, often allowing them to sell and rent films prior to their official retail release.

Step 1: Launch iTunes — Assuming you have iTunes installed on your computer, you can launch the software and and connect your iPad to your computer as you would normally. The program should automatically bring up the iPad panel, but if not, simply click the iPad option in the upper-right corner of the application window to bring up the interface.

Step 2: Download a movie — Once you’ve successfully brought up your iPad, click the blue Library button in the top-left corner, followed by iTunes Store. Next, click the Movies tab at the top and browse Apple’s library until you find a film you want to upload to your iPad. Choose your desired quality using the buttons located beneath the film poster and click the Buy or Rent button to purchase your selection before allowing the movie to download.

Good Morning, Vietnam in iPad

Step 3: Sync your iPad — Click the Movies tab located in the middle of the top navigation bar and check the box directly left of Sync Movies. Afterward, check the box next to the movies you wish to include or use the drop-down menu at the top of the tab to automatically sync a limited selection of recent and unwatched movies. Click the Apply button in the bottom-right corner when you’re satisfied with your selection. If you rent it, keep in mind you have 30 days to start it and 24 hours to finish it after you begin watching.

Step 4: Watch away — Once properly synced, tap the Videos app — designated by a blue clapperboard icon — to watch the movie as you would normally.

Related: How to print from an iPad

How to download movies using the iTunes Store app

Although syncing isn’t a tough process, it’s also one that can be avoided if you prefer to use the iTunes Store app. Doing so will allow you to purchase or rent movies directly on your device in a similar manner to how you would using the desktop incarnation of iTunes. All you need is access to a valid Wi-Fi network.

Step 1: Launch the iTunes Store app — Tap the purple iTunes Store icon featuring an encircled music note to bring up the mobile version of Apple’s renowned content catalog. Afterward, tap Movies in the navigation toolbar at the bottom of the screen.

Step 2: Download a movie — Browse the film library until you find a movie you want to download to your iPad. Then, tap either the blue Buy or Rent buttons to download your selection and confirm your purchase before tapping the Videos app and watching the movie as you would normally. If you rent a movie, keep in mind you have 30 days to start it and 24 hours to finish it after you begin watching.

Movie Download Options iPad

Step 3: Watch away — Once properly synced, tap the Videos app — designated by a blue clapperboard icon — to watch the movie as you would normally.

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