A great way to utilize an unused HDMI-capable TV monitor is by connecting an external media player to it. One such device is Apple TV. And although this peripheral is a powerful entertainment tool, it does have some limitations. For example, it does not support VPN (Virtual Private Network) software natively.
Luckily, there are ways to get around this drawback if you choose the correct VPN provider. The most crucial thing to know is that a service should have the Smart DNS feature. Alternatively, it needs to be manually configurable on routers. Only then can you take full advantage of your Apple TV VPN and curb geographical restrictions.
Best VPN for Apple TV: shortlist
Eager to get the most out of your Apple TV? Here’s a sneak peek at our top five Apple TV VPN recommendations:
- The best VPN for Apple TV9.6
- Apple TV VPN with unlimited connections9.3
- The cheapest VPN for Apple TV9.1
- Versatile VPN for Apple TV8.8
- Apple TV VPN with the largest server network8.6
Why do you need a VPN for Apple TV in 2022?
The most obvious reason for using a VPN on Apple TV is to get around geo-blocks. Streaming services provide different content libraries around the world due to licensing restrictions. Meanwhile, you can use a VPN to change your location and access movies and TV shows exclusive to foreign countries.
Furthermore, a VPN connection has the benefit of military-grade encryption. Typically, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can see all of your online activities. However, encryption makes your internet traffic unreadable to any online snoopers, including your ISP. That way, you won’t have to worry about data theft, bandwidth throttling, and other privacy issues.
Can I use a VPN on Apple TV directly?
Unfortunately, Apple TV devices do not support VPN software natively. This is because Apple imposes restrictions on VPN software development for the media player. Therefore, customers need to employ certain workarounds to get around geographical restrictions and watch a wider variety of content.
The first method involves Smart DNS. It requires configuring your Apple TV settings to enable DNS (Domain Name System) requests to go through the VPN instead. That way, you gain the geo-unblocking benefits of a VPN minus the encryption. Naturally, not every VPN service supports Smart DNS.
The second workaround requires installing a VPN on a router. Then all you have to do is connect your Apple TV to the VPN-secured network. This also means every device you connect to your router will be blessed with the benefits of a VPN.
There’s also a third option. Essentially, it replaces the router with a different device, such as a mobile phone or laptop that can host a WiFi hotspot. You just need to install a VPN on that device and then share the connection with your Apple TV.
Best VPNs for Apple TV: overview
As you can see, getting a VPN on Apple TV requires a fair bit of technical features. Besides Smart DNS and router compatibility, a good VPN service should include a range of other benefits, for example:
- Reliable kill switch
- Geo-block circumvention
- WebRTC, IP, and DNS leak prevention
- Expansive server fleet
- Affordable VPN pricetag
- 24/7 customer service
- Modern tunneling protocols
- Compatibility with numerous other devices
Of course, this only scratches the surface of what a VPN can bring to the table. We’ll further elaborate on what each Apple TV VPN recommendation provides.
1. NordVPN – the best VPN for Apple TV
- Very fast
- Integrated SmartPlay technology
- Up to 6 devices with one account
- No router app
The ultimate side dish to the Apple TV main course is NordVPN. It has all the necessary features for compatibility with the device and numerous other perks as well.
Firstly, NordVPN is equipped with 5200+ servers across 60+ countries. It’s worth noting that a majority of those servers are utilizing RAM-only technology for exceptional data privacy. Furthermore, mind-blowing connection speeds are guaranteed with the proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol.
Naturally, no Apple TV VPN is worth talking about without mentioning streaming services. In the case of NordVPN, it works with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many more. Additionally, Smart DNS is available for easy configuration on any streaming peripheral. The VPN is also compatible with Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, and Kodi.
Industry-leading privacy is guaranteed thanks to multiple independent no-logs policy audits and jurisdiction in Panama. Plus, an absence of personal data can be ensured by paying for the VPN anonymously using cryptocurrencies.
A single NordVPN account allows you to secure six different devices simultaneously. If you need more, manual router configuration is available. Then all of your network-connected devices can inherit the benefits of a VPN connection.
Best of all, NordVPN offers a 7-day free trial on the Google Play Store. You will need an Android device, which could prove troublesome if you’re a die-hard Apple fan. Alternatively, subscriptions start at $3.29/month and are insured with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark – Apple TV VPN with unlimited connections
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Great for streaming
- Very fast
- Weak self-help support section
Surfshark is the perfect solution if you need security for an unspecified amount of devices. It offers unlimited simultaneous connections, top-notch protection, and an affordable price.
First off, Surfshark utilizes 3200+ servers in 65+ countries. Additionally, it’s one of the few VPN services using a 100% RAM-only server fleet. Plus, unparalleled connectivity is provided with the modern and open-source WireGuard tunneling protocol.
In terms of streaming, Surfshark is high up on the food chain. It can make quick work of geo-blocks by HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and much more. Best of all, you can utilize Smart DNS to unblock content on practically any home entertainment device, such as gaming consoles, smart TVs, and other peripherals.
Surfshark can also be utilized to ensure stealth while browsing online. It’s based in the Netherlands, a haven for privacy. Additionally, it went through numerous third-party audits to ensure proper data protection. Lastly, the most die-hard privacy enthusiasts can purchase a subscription anonymously using cryptocurrencies.
This VPN stands out with its special Surfshark One package. This optional bonus includes protection against viruses, a private internet search engine, and personal data breach monitoring.
You can get started with this outstanding VPN by grabbing a Surfshark free trial on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Although the test doesn’t include Surfshark One, it has no other limitations. Otherwise, pricing starts at $2.30/month and is protected with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
3. VyprVPN – the cheapest VPN for Apple TV
- Router app
- Top-notch security and privacy
- Excellent price
- macOS and iOS apps have less features
If you’re strapped for cash after buying Apple TV, check out VyprVPN. It’s the cheapest VPN on this list yet leaves many other services in the dust.
For starters, VyprVPN runs a network of 700+ servers in 70+ countries. It also owns and runs all the hardware, thus ensuring zero interference from third parties. Additionally, customers can alternate between WireGuard and Chameleon tunneling protocols for either speed or stealth.
Unsurprisingly, the VPN is also an excellent choice for streaming fans. It can easily uncover extra TV shows and movies on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and much more. Plus, the service is compatible with Android TV, Amazon FireOS devices, smart TVs, and countless other peripherals.
VyprVPN is one of the first providers in the industry to go through an independent no-logs policy audit. Besides that, it’s located in privacy-guaranteeing Switzerland. The only disappointing aspect is that it lacks an anonymous payment method.
One VyprVPN subscription enables you to connect five different devices simultaneously. If you need more, it’s possible to set up a router with a VPN and secure an entire network of devices with one connection. Plus, this allows you to try out the unique dedicated router app that VyprVPN offers.
Although VyprVPN doesn’t have a Smart DNS feature, it’s still worth its affordable price. Subscriptions start at $8.33/month and are shielded with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of VyprVPN, read our VyprVPN review.
4. PrivateVPN – versatile VPN for Apple TV
- 7-day free trial
- Great for streaming
- Fast speeds
- Support could be more responsive
PrivateVPN is a jack-of-all-trades service that you can utilize effectively in multiple scenarios. And since it’s compatible with routers, you can use it to unlock extra content on Apple TV.
To start, PrivateVPN makes do with a network of 200+ servers across 63+ countries. While these numbers seem small, top-notch quality is ensured by retaining complete ownership of the fleet. Plus, users can switch between OpenVPN and IKEv2 tunneling protocols for optimal connectivity.
Excellent streaming performance is provided with dedicated servers for specific streaming platforms. For example, PrivateVPN works splendidly with BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Netflix, and many other popular platforms. Plus, the service is compatible with Android TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Kodi, and Roku.
Oddly enough, PrivateVPN doesn’t live up to its namesake and isn’t located in a privacy-ensuring country. Instead, it’s based in Sweden, a member of the Fourteen Eyes alliance. But you can rest assured if your only priority is streaming. Moreover, you can minimize the amount of personal data shared with the service by purchasing a subscription with Bitcoin.
A single PrivateVPN subscription allows you to connect up to six different devices simultaneously. If that’s not enough, you can set up a router with a VPN connection and enjoy practically unlimited connections on your home network.
You can get a taste of PrivateVPN by utilizing the 7-day free trial available on the service’s website. After that, subscriptions start at $2.00/month, which are also protected with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.
5. PureVPN – Apple TV VPN with the largest server network
- 10 simultaneous connection
- DD-WRT applet
- Excellent device compatibility
- Weak kill switch
When it comes to unblocking geo-restricted content, a diverse server network grants exceptional reliability. This is precisely what sets PureVPN apart from other Apple TV VPNs.
First off, PureVPN has a fleet of 6500+ servers in 70+ countries. Unsurprisingly, such an extensive network warrants some virtual locations, but that’s hardly an issue for most users. Furthermore, it’s possible to switch between OpenVPN and IKEv2 tunneling protocols to conduct the VPN connection.
PureVPN does not disappoint in the streaming department either. It’s frequently used to unearth extra content on Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu + Live TV, and countless other platforms. Moreover, it’s usable with a wide array of devices, such as Chromecast, Microsoft Surface, Raspberry Pi, and Roku.
Privacy fans will be glad to hear that PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, a privacy-friendly country. Furthermore, the service went through an independent no-logs policy audit to verify that customer data is handled safely. If that’s not enough, you can purchase a subscription anonymously by using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum.
One PureVPN account can be used to secure a whopping ten different devices simultaneously. If even that is not enough, it’s possible to configure a router with this service manually. Plus, it offers a unique DD-WRT applet to make the process easier.
You can get a small bite of PureVPN by grabbing a 7-day trial for $0.99. Otherwise, the whole package starts at $1.99/month and is gift-wrapped with a 31-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of PureVPN, read our PureVPN review.
How to set up a VPN for Apple TV
As mentioned earlier, there are a few ways to reap the benefits of a VPN connection on your Apple TV. We’ll provide some general guides to get you started, but you should consult detailed tutorials by your chosen VPN provider or contact customer support if something doesn’t work.
Alternatively, you can learn more from our detailed video guide on this topic by visiting our YouTube channel below.
Setup Smart DNS with Apple TV
Here’s how to get around geo-blocks if your VPN provider has the Smart DNS feature:
- Subscribe to a VPN that has Smart DNS. Our top recommendation is NordVPN, currently available for 60% off!
- Ensure that your current device and Apple TV are connected to the same network
- Whitelist your IP address
- Go to the Network settings on your Apple TV
- Click on Wi-Fi
- Choose the option to configure DNS settings manually
- Enter the Smart DNS servers of your VPN provider
- Unblock any content on your Apple TV!
Configure a router with a VPN and Apple TV
And here’s how to combine a VPN-enabled router with Apple TV:
- Choose a VPN provider that can be configured with a router. Our favorite choice is NordVPN, the #1 service provider overall!
- Find out your router’s IP address. A standard address is 192.168.1.1
- Log in to your router
- Configure the router with a VPN connection
- Connect the Apple TV to the router network
- Curb geo-blocks on your home network and Apple TV!
The best aspect of each Apple TV VPN
Not all VPN services are carved from the same marble. Each has its defining traits, and we’ve highlighted some of them below.
|NordVPN||The Best VPN for Apple TV|
|Surfshark VPN||Apple TV VPN with unlimited connections|
|VyprVPN||Cheapest VPN for Apple TV|
|PrivateVPN||Versatile VPN for Apple TV|
|PureVPN||Apple TV VPN with the largest server network|
What should I look for in a VPN for Apple TV?
Naturally, you can try your luck with a VPN that isn’t mentioned on this list. However, we urge you to pay attention to these criteria in particular if you want to find the best Apple TV VPN:
- Compatibility. First and foremost, a VPN for Apple TV needs to support manual configuration on routers. Unsurprisingly, it should also work with all the other devices that you own.
- Bonus features. You may be surprised to hear that Smart DNS isn’t such a common feature among VPN services. Check for it beforehand if you don’t want to be sorely disappointed.
- Customer support. Getting a VPN working with Apple TV is no walk in the park. Ensure that assistance is available 24/7 if you come across any difficulties.
- Servers. Excellent geo-block circumvention can only be guaranteed with a vast network of servers. Check all the juicy detail on the VPN provider’s website.
- Speed. It’s common knowledge that a VPN connection slightly reduces your internet bandwidth. Ensure that it doesn’t slow down to a crawl by utilizing the latest tunneling protocols. Alternatively, check how most VPN providers fare by visiting our VPN speed test.
- Security. While not crucial on Apple TV, digital safety is paramount if you intend to use a VPN on other devices. Make sure that the service has proper protection against viruses, phishing, and malware.
- Privacy. A confidential VPN ensures that no one will find out what your guilty pleasures on Apple TV are. Choose a VPN with an audited no-logs policy and jurisdiction in a privacy-respecting country.
- Price. Top-shelf VPNs don’t have to cost a fortune. And with numerous discount coupons available, you can get reliable service for around $4/month on a long-term plan.
Should I pick a free VPN for Apple TV?
Although there’s no shortage of free VPN services to choose from, they’re hardly a consideration for Apple TV. More often than not, router configuration is not included with free plans. Plus, you’ll be bombarded with numerous other downsides, such as:
- Browsing data limits
- Throttled bandwidth
- Unreliable security features
- Tiny server networks
- Poorly maintained software with vulnerabilities
- High likelihood of data logging and selling
If you can afford an Apple TV, you can surely afford a reliable premium VPN as well. After all, Apple products are known for their security, but shady free VPNs can easily undermine that.
Alternative geo-unblocking methods for Apple TV
If you’re not keen on any of the methods mentioned above for getting around geo-blocks on Apple TV, there are still some options available. They’re far from optimal, but we’ll include them if you’d like to weigh your options before making a final decision.
- Proxies. Proxies are similar to VPNs as they reroute your connection through an intermediary server. However, they don’t grant encryption and other expected VPN benefits. Naturally, implementing one depends on the specifics of your chosen service.
- Kodi. This is a free and open-source home theater software that’s compatible with a wide range of devices. It can facilitate numerous third-party applications and can even be combined with a VPN. You can read our detailed guide on installing Kodi on Apple TV for more information.
VPN not working with Apple TV?
There are a few things you could try If you’ve enabled a VPN connection for your Apple TV but still can’t see the content that you’d like to unblock.
- Check for IP and DNS leaks. This might be impossible to do on the Apple TV itself. If you set up a router with a VPN, check for DNS leaks on any other connected device.
- Create a new Apple ID. Your primary Apple ID could be locked in with your actual country location. Try creating a new account and select a country that matches the VPN location.
- Connect to a different server or country. Perhaps the server you connected to simply doesn’t work with a particular streaming service. Try switching to another server.
- Check if the VPN can unblock a service. Lesser quality VPNs aren’t capable of unlocking all possible streaming services. Ask their support team if the VPN should work with a particular platform.
Apple has made it difficult for VPN users to enable a VPN connection on Apple TV. Thankfully, the best VPN services have been hard at work developing workarounds for this issue. This means you’ll have no trouble unlocking more movies and TV shows if you’re willing to put in the extra effort.
What’s your favorite VPN to combine with Apple TV? Share your entertainment recipe by leaving a comment!
Can I use a free VPN with Apple TV?
Most free VPN services don’t have the necessary features (Smart DNS and router configuration) to be usable with Apple TV. As such, you’re better off getting a recommended premium service. Some of them even offer free trials so you could test everything without any strings attached.
Is it legal to use a VPN with Apple TV?
Yes, there are no laws against using a VPN with Apple TV. However, some streaming platforms indirectly prohibit VPN usage since it hides your true location. Luckily, there are no severe repercussions if you’re caught, merely an inconvenience.
Is Apple TV+ the same thing as Apple TV?
Apple TV is a device, and Apple TV+ is a media subscription service. You don’t have to have an Apple TV device to access the subscription service; you don’t even need an Apple device to do that. It works like other well-known streaming services, for example, Netflix.
Ethan is a security researcher and digital privacy advocate. He spends his time unraveling various anonymity and security tools, plus contributing to open-source projects. Otherwise, he keeps a low profile by hiking or cycling around the countryside.