If you’re a cord-cutter, Apple TV is the perfect solution to access streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime. However, these platforms usually have more content in the US, and some are unavailable outside the country altogether. The solution is to get a good VPN.
With a VPN, you will be able to unlock the full potential of your Apple TV and avoid content blocks.
There’s just one issue – Apple TV doesn’t support VPN software out of the box. Fortunately, if you have the right VPN, you can easily install it on a router or use a Smart DNS feature directly on your Apple TV. Here are the best services for the job:
- Very fast
- Integrated SmartPlay technology
- Up to 6 devices with one account
- No router app
NordVPN is an excellent service if you’re looking for a VPN for Apple TV. It reliably unblocks Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and many other streaming giants. Combined with six simultaneous connections, you can make use of the service across six different devices.
You can connect to over 59 countries, unblocking content available in different countries, like France, Spain or Japan. This turns your Apple TV box into a versatile streaming machine.
It’s a shame Apple TV doesn’t support VPN natively, but NordVPN offers the SmartPlay DNS proxy feature. It’s a lightweight solution that helps you to access geo-blocked content. It’s also a good idea to set up NordVPN on a router that connects to your Apple TV box for an added layer of encryption. Last but not least, you can get NordVPN for a reasonably low price.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark VPN
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Great for streaming
- Very fast
- Weak self-help support section
Even though Surfshark VPN is lesser-known, it could soon be the best VPN for Apple TV. With 1700+ servers across 60+ countries and growing, there’s always a server nearby, no matter where you live.
Once you subscribe to Surfshark, you get their Smart DNS feature for free. It overrides your default DNS server and uses one that will unblock any streaming service you may want to watch. The method doesn’t affect your speed as much, so there’s no loss in quality. It’s even possible to stream UHD (4K) videos from Netflix, Hulu, and the rest.
There’s also the option to configure Surfshark on routers, greatly increasing the security of your network.
You can use this service on any number of devices at once, and subscribing for an extended period will get you a fantastic deal.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
- 7-day free trial
- Great for streaming
- Fast speeds
- Support could be more responsive
PrivateVPN isn’t at all flashy, but it’s discrete, gets the job done, and keeps you safe. One of its main selling points is a fast service that efficiently unblocks Netflix and plenty of other streaming platforms.
Company personnel manage all of their servers, so there are no questionable third party providers. If you were to opt-in for a PrivateVPN subscription, good speeds are a guarantee. You should be able to stream content in UHD (4K) quality without any issues (assuming your base connection speed is good).
There is no router app, but you’ll find many tutorials on their website on how to configure the service on DD-WRT or Tomato routers. This might need some tinkering and will take a little longer than with some of the previously mentioned VPNs, but the guides are informative enough. Should you encounter any issues, PrivateVPN’s live chat is there to help you out.
For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.
- Free trial
- Decent knowledge-base and 24/7 live chat
- Relatively fast connection speeds
- macOS and iOS apps have less features
CyberGhost is a reliable VPN for Apple TV. It provides you with robust protection as well as helpful features that are sure to make your TV experience superb. It will unlock any restrictions that may be in place if you’re trying to watch your favorite TV shows or movies.
It’s easy to set up CyberGhost on your router; thanks to many detailed guides on their website. With their fleet of 6400+ servers, no location is out of reach, and you may select specialized streaming servers. They work wonderfully with Apple TV. There’s also an option to use a Smart DNS; you’ll find set-up guides for Apple TV 3 & 4 on their website.
The mix of performance, ease of use, and exclusive features make CyberGhost an easy VPN to recommend. Their affordable plans are a plus, too. You can always try CyberGhost yourself with their 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of CyberGhost, read our CyberGhost review.
- Very fast
- Apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, routers, Linux, and more
- Great for China and other restricted countries
- No "stealth protocol"
ExpressVPN is a costly VPN, which illustrates how you can solve a problem by throwing money at it. It’s a solution that’s not for everyone, but it indeed works wonders if you need a VPN for Apple TV.
With a single subscription, you get access to many ExpressVPN router apps. If you bought yours not too long ago, it should be easy to find one that would work with your router. There are many tutorials on their website as well, which makes it super easy to set it up in your home.
If you prefer less time-consuming methods, there’s also MediaStreamer DNS service. This works as a proxy with no needed installs or costs, and it is included with the regular subscription. It still reliably unblocks all streaming services that you’d want to watch: UK and US versions of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and much more.
Even though it’s as premium as VPNs get, you can try ExpressVPN risk-free thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of ExpressVPN, read our ExpressVPN review.
Why do you need a VPN on Apple TV?
Even if you’re not very privacy-conscious, there’s a good chance you could benefit from a VPN service. This is especially true to those who are living outside the US and have an Apple TV device. Some countries just have it better when it comes to the availability of content and device features.
For example, if you’re living in the US, available Apple TV features for you are: App Store, Apple Arcade, Apple Music, iTunes Store (Movies, TV Shows, Music, Ringtones & Tones), Apple TV+, and Apple News. However, if you’re living in, let’s say Albania, the features for you are only the App Store, Apple Arcade, Apple TV app, Apple Books (only public domain ones), and Apple Podcasts.
That’s almost half of the features that you are getting locked out of, just because you’re living in “the wrong” country. You’ve paid the full price for the device – does this seem fair to you?
When it comes to available content on the apps themselves, the situation isn’t any better. Sure, Netflix is available in Albania, however, there are only 233 TV shows and movies on it – that’s the full library. The US, meanwhile, has a library of 5000+ TV shows and movies. That’s approximately 23 times more, but your subscription cost is the same.
A quality VPN service allows you to bypass annoying blocks: when it comes to third-party apps and when it comes to device features. It unlocks the full potential of your Apple TV device, so you can enjoy all the content you want.
How to choose the best Apple TV VPN?
Apple TV presents a somewhat unconventional cord-cutting approach. This might make it challenging to know what you need from a VPN to use with an Apple TV box. Here’s what you should consider when choosing the best VPN for your streaming device:
- Server locations. Some services have hundreds of servers, some have thousands, but what is crucial is that there would be enough servers in the country you will connect to.
- Speeds. All VPNs encrypt your traffic and route it through a remote server, which in most cases means lower speeds. Some VPNs are efficiently optimized to ensure the best possible speeds and, therefore, are suitable for streaming.
- Security features. You shouldn’t ignore security even if it’s not the main objective here. The chances are that you use more devices where you could use from an additional level of privacy, also if you’re not planning to overthrow oppressive regimes.
- Router or Smart DNS. In most cases, using a VPN with your Apple TV means using it with a router or via Smart DNS. Look for services that offer router support or have a Smart DNS feature.
If a VPN ticks all these boxes, you can rest assured that it will be perfect for Apple TV devices.
How to use a VPN on Apple TV via a router?
Apple TVs don’t natively support VPN apps. So, to use it with a VPN, you’ll first have to figure out how to install the VPN on your router. Your Apple TV VPN set-up will depend on many things and your level of expertise. Here’s how you can do it.
How to set-up NordVPN on Apple TV
The specifics on how to do it will vary between different brands and models, but the general steps will be as follows:
- Log into your router
You’ll need to log into your router to adjust its settings. You’ll need the product’s manual or look for a sticker on the router itself. For most routers, you have to type in its IP address into your search bar and login.
- Configure your router
How you’ll be configuring it will depend entirely on your router’s firmware. Some routers already have integrated VPN functionality, others – don’t. This might mean reconfiguring them to redirect their traffic to a VPN server or even flashing their firmware. That depends entirely on your device.
- Test your connection
Once you’ve completed all the needed configuration, you should first test your router’s VPN to check if the connection works. Check which IP address is displayed and if its changed, you’ve successfully completed the configuration.
Apple TV VPN with a physical router
Setup will vary massively on your brand and model of your router. Take this guide with a grain of salt and check your router’s manual. However, your usual set-up should look like this:
- Get access to your router by typing 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 in your browser and entering your credentials. If they were set to consult the person who set it up, otherwise it might be in the manual, or you’ll need to ask your ISP
- Once you’re in, you’ll need to check if the router supports VPN connections natively. If yes, you’ll have to configure it according to the instructions in the manual.
- If your router doesn’t natively support VPNs, you’ll need to flash it with firmware. In some cases that might void your warranty, so do this with extra caution if you’re renting a router from your ISP
- After all the set-up is complete, go online and check if your IP has changed. If so, you have completed VPN set-up on your router
Remember, if this seems like too much hassle, best providers like NordVPN sell already pre-configured routers. You’ll just have to plug it in, and it’ll work straight out the box, you’ll still need a subscription, though.
Apple TV VPN with a virtual router
Setting up a virtual router is less tedious than configurations on the router, albeit being less cost-efficient. For this to work, you’ll need a spare laptop lying around. The process might depend significantly on your provider, so in all cases, consult how it’s done in each particular instance.
- Turn on your spare laptop
- Log in to your VPN provider and connect to your preferred server
- Create a hotspot from your laptop
- With your Apple TV device then connect to a laptop’s hotspot and not to the router directly
- The shared connection will be encrypted and disguised as coming from the origin country where the server that you’ve connected is located. Test to see if it displays a different IP.
It’s possible to make the connection wired or wireless, depending on your wanted connection speeds.
Is it safe to use a free VPN with Apple TV?
Using a free VPN on your phone or laptop is a somewhat streamlined solution, it’s not the case with Apple TV devices. Read a little further up on how to set up a VPN on your device. Apple TV boxes don’t support VPNs native, which is a significant problem if you’re trying to use the service. Free services don’t have the resources needed to provide you with custom router apps, pre-installed configurations on a router, or smart DNS solutions. Only premium providers can help you out in this case. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, if you opt-in for a more extended period, most providers have very affordable pricing plans. So it’s straightforward to get the ball rolling and unlock the full potential of your Apple TV box.
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 get access to the subscription service; you don’t even need an Apple device to do that, it works exactly the way as does Netflix.
Think of Apple TV as Apple’s version of a set-top box that allows access to the app store. The difference compared to its Android counterparts is that Apple TV somewhat restricts what you can install on it – VPNs being one of the things restricted.
By now, you’ll have hopefully learned exactly why you should be using a VPN on Apple TV. It’s clear to see that it’s the perfect way to make the most out of your Apple TV device. After all, you’ll be able to ensure that geo-blocking practices become a thing of the past, with the added benefit being that you’ll be able to enjoy enhanced online security.
With all that in mind, all you need to do now is to decide on which VPN to go for – choosing the one which meets your personal needs and is within your budget. It’s as simple as that!