5 Best VPNs for Apple TV in 2020 | How to set up your VPN with & without a router

Using a VPN for Apple TV will vastly increase the number of shows you can watch with the service. By simply connecting to a VPN server located overseas, you can access streams that are usually geo-restricted to that region. This makes VPNs a great tool to help you get real value for money out of your Apple TV service.

A VPN can also help you access all of your iTunes content outside the country that your account was originally created in.

In this article, we will compare the 5 best VPNs for Apple TV and show you how to set up a VPN on Apple TV.

What are the best VPNs that can be used with Apple TV?

Looking for an answer fast? We have summaried the best VPNs to use with Apple TV below. If you need more information on any of the services list, please keep scrolling.

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN to use with Apple TV. You get excellent unblocking power & speeds good enough for streaming in HD & 4K!
  2. CyberGhost VPN - An easy to set up VPN for Apple TV. It supports all major platforms, including routers and you get great speeds to stream in HD.
  3. Private Internet Access - A secure VPN that works well with Apple TV. The app is intuitive and super customisable and you get a strong no logs policy.
  4. Surfshark - The cheapest VPN for Apple TV. From just $1.94 you can get great speeds for streaming & it consistently unblocks streaming servers.
  5. VyprVPN - A VPN for Apple TV with SmartDNS included. This makes unblocking on Apple TV super easy & you get speeds that can handle HD.

There are several factors that you need to consider when deciding which VPNs are good to use with Apple TV. For one, it needs to be a great unblocker. But, depending on what version of Apple TV you have, it also needs to be flexible in terms of device support. With this in mind, we considered these factors when curating our list of the best Apple TV VPN apps:

Please note: Apple TV is not designed to run VPN software from the device. There are several ways to install a VPN, but on your router is by far the easiest.

Now you know what we look for, let's take an in-depth look at our top VPN picks for Apple TV.

The best VPN apps for Apple TV 4k | In-depth analysis

The summaries below will walk you through specific details for each recommended Apple TV VPN. To find out even more, please check out our VPN reviews.

Best VPN app for Apple TV: ExpressVPN is our #1 pick. This VPN offers great speeds, unblocking power & it's easy to set up, making it a great choice for streaming through Apple TV.

  • Pricing

    From  $6.67 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

ExpressVPN on all devices


ExpressVPN is an outstanding choice for people that want a VPN for Apple TV. It can be purchased on a pre-flashed router, which will make hooking up Apple TV (and all your other devices) super easy.


With this service you get the option of SmartDNS, which really makes unblocking content a breeze. The VPN is incredibly reliable, highly secure, and lightning fast – perfect for streaming in HD. Furthermore, it is one of the few VPNs that unblock US Netflix.


You can try ExpressVPN risk-free today thanks to their no-quibble 30-day money-back guarantee. 

CyberGhost is a great value pick for Apple TV. For a low cost you get a fast VPN that can access US Netflix, iPlayer and other geo-restricted streams.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.75 - $12.99
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

CyberGhost on all devices


CyberGhost is a VPN provider based in Romania, a location that is excellent in terms of privacy. The VPN has servers in 90 countries worldwide, so you can spoof your location to just about anywhere to unblock regional content. With CyberGhost you get apps for all platforms, which means you can set it up with any computer, laptop, or router to connect it to your Apple TV. CyberGhost is one of the rare VPNs that can unblock Netflix US, iPlayer, hulu, Prime, and many other streaming services. This makes it an ideal choice for your Apple TV.


Plus, CyberGhost VPN provides outstanding privacy thanks to its zero-logs policy, OpenVPN encryption, kill switch, and DNS leak protection, ensuring you can enjoy this VPN for entertainment, as well as gain privacy and security both at home and on public WiFi. This VPN can be installed and used on up to 7 devices simultaneously, and you can test it risk-free for a lengthy 45 days thanks to its money-back guarantee. 

PIA is a really secure VPN for Apple TV. It takes privacy seriously, really seriously. But you also get a fast VPN for streaming & it can unblock more content on Apple TV.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.69 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

PIA on Windows


Private Internet Access is a VPN based in the USA that has servers in 33 countries around the world. The VPN is both secure and reliable, meaning that it is great for unblocking more streams on your Apple TV. The VPN can be installed on either a macOS or Windows computer and you can easily connect your Apple TV to your computer to make use of the VPN with an ethernet cable. Alternatively, you could buy a Vilfo router to connect to the VPN at the router level.


We like this VPN because it offers super fast connection speeds for streaming. The VPN is ideal for torrenting because it has a kill switch to prevent you accidentally leaking unencrypted data. PIA is truly a great all-rounder, which considering the price is excellent. And you can install it on up to 10 devices simultaneously with a single subscription. You can compare it to any other VPN in this list thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Surfshark is the cheapest VPN for Apple TV on our list. But, don't be fooled by the price. It's fast and has servers where you need them to unblock content on Apple TV.

  • Pricing

    From  $1.94 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

SurfShark on all devices


Surfshark is a VPN provider that provides the best of both worlds; robust privacy and security with excellent unblocking capabilities. With Surfshark, you get access to servers in over 60 countries, so you can easily unblock geo-restricted services from around the world. The VPN can be installed on a large number of devices thanks to its custom apps, and you can easily connect your Apple TV to your PC to share the VPN connection.


Surfshark has a zero logs policy, and it is based in the British Virgin Islands which puts it well out of reach of invasive jurisdictions such as the US and the UK. In addition to this important privacy feature, Surfshark implements strong OpenVPN encryption, a kill switch, and obfuscation. This makes the VPN perfect for BitTorrent. This VPN can be installed and used on an unlimited number of devices with just one subscription, which makes it incredible value for money. And, you can test it risk-free thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

VyprVPN is a great pick for Apple TV if your looking for SmartDNS. This provider is loaded with great features to make your life easier and they come at a competitive price point.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.50 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

VyprVPN on all devices


VyprVPN is owned by Golden Frog, an Internet conglomerate that owns its own network of servers. For this reason, VyprVPN is both secure and fast. The Switzerland-based VPN runs on excellent software that is very easy to use and can run on five devices simultaneously. Also useful for your Apple TV is that Vypr provides a detailed DD-WRT setup guide, or it can be purchased pre-flashed on a router.


VyprVPN is a fully featured VPN with a kill switch, DNS leak protection, stealth mode, shared IPs and everything needed to make the most out of your Apple TV. Finally, it provides a thirty-day money-back guarantee so you can test it risk-free.

How to install and use a VPN with Apple TV?

Once you have selected an Apple TV VPN, you will require information on how to set it up. There are a few different ways to set up an Apple TV VPN - some are easier than others. In this guide, we have made things easy for you by explaining each method step-by-step.

What generation are you using?

It is worth noting that Apple TV is not designed to let you run VPN software directly. However, since the 4th Generation (2015 onwards), Apple TVs run the tvOS operating system - a stripped-down version of iOS that is able to run apps. Sadly, this does not include VPN apps. Luckily, there are solutions to this problem which we will explain in this guide.

Changing your Apple TV's DNS settings (fast method)

Changing your Apple TV’s DNS settings doesn’t necessarily require a VPN. However, with some premium VPNs you get the advantage of a full-fledged smart DNS service baked into the subscription. This is a huge advantage when it comes to unblocking content successfully.

In this guide, we have used ExpressVPN as an example because it is our top choice for streaming in HD. However, you can do the same with any VPN that provides smart DNS that works with services like Netflix. We recommend that you contact each VPN's customer support before subscribing to ensure that their specific Smart DNS service works with Netflix. As of January 2020, ExpressVPN and VyprVPN have both confirmed that their smart DNS definitely works.

How to change your Apple TV DNS with SmartDNS

  1. Start by locating your VPN's DNS address. With ExpressVPN , this IP can be found in the software. However, if needs be you can ask your VPN provider for this IP address directly.
  2. To prepare your Apple TV device, change the location of your iTunes Store to match your new IP address. To do this, go into Settings > General > Apple TV Language and make sure everything is the same.
  3. Now, it’s time to enter your new DNS server IP into your Apple TV. Head back into Settings > Network > Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi connection. And change Configure DNS from Automatic to Manual. Now, input the IP address you got from the VPN.
  4. Select Done and restart your device to apply the changes.

Once your Apple TV has rebooted, you should be able to access streams and services from your selected country.

Make sure that you have chosen a provider that caters to the services you wish to unblock (iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, etc). If you encounter any problems, you can contact your VPN's customer support to find out which server it is best to use.

Loading a VPN onto a router is the easiest way to set up an Apple TV to work with a VPN - but it can be more costly. The simplest method is to purchase a pre-flashed and pre-configured Tomato router or DD-WRT router from FlashRouters.

This guarantees that the VPN router will work right out of the box and that you will not run the risk of bricking your router during flashing. Alternatively, many medium to high-end routers feature a built-in VPN client - which can be configured to work with most VPN providers manually. For a cheap option that is easy to set up, we strongly recommend this Vilfo

If you have a little know-how and aren’t afraid to get stuck in, you can go ahead and flash your existing router with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware (as long as it is compatible). Every router is different, and we always recommend finding guides specifically for your device, but some basic steps are outlined below.

How to install an Apple TV VPN on your router

  1. Using a laptop or computer, download the DD-WRT or Tomato firmware for your specific router if it is available. Please note that using the wrong file during this process can brick your router.
  2. Ensure your router is powered on and insert an ethernet cable into any available port.
  3. Connect the other end of the ethernet cable into your laptop or computer with the downloaded file.
  4. Using your chosen device, head into your router’s IP address (usually 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1). Please note that you might be prompted for you a username and password (usually admin/password or admin/admin by default).
  5. Navigate into the Admin panel, sometimes found under Advanced and select Upgrade/Router Upgrade. Alternatively, some routers might have a CFE bootloader that requires you to enter a sequence to bring you to the same menu,
  6. Click Upload. You might be presented with a warning message. Only continue if you are sure that you are proceeding with the correct file.
  7. Once the upload has completed, restart your router.
  8. Log back into the router and enter your new login credentials, remembering to save things as you go.

It is important to remember that this process is loosely based on what should be done when flashing a router, but is not a one-size-fits-all guide.

Setting up a VPN for Apple TV without a VPN router (cheaper method)

It is possible to run a VPN connection on your WIndows PC or Mac and share this connection with your Apple TV. This is a cheaper alternative to forking out for a VPN router, but it can be less reliable, but can be done over wifi or using an ethernet cable.

Check out the step-by-step guides below for information about how you can set up an Apple TV VPN. We have split up the guides for Windows VPN users and Mac VPN users. 

Sharing a Windows VPN connection with Apple TV

Connect a VPN to Apple TV With an ethernet cable (windows 10)

For this method to work, your PC will usually need to be connected to the internet via WiFi. If you have two or more Ethernet PC ports on your PC, however, you can use the second port to connect to the internet instead. This will provide even better speeds for your PC and Apple TV. 

  1. Sign-up for one of the VPN services listed above, install it in Windows and connect to a VPN server.
  2. Connect your Apple TV to your computer using an Ethernet cable. Modern laptops often do not feature a dedicated Ethernet port, so you may need to purchase a USB-C to Ethernet adapter cable or similar. All Apple TV models, including the Apple TV 4K feature an Ethernet port.
  3. Go to Start -> Network & Internet -> Status -> Change your network settings -> Change adapter options.

    setup a vpn on apple tv with windows 10 over ethernet image 1

  4. Find your VPN connection. If it is an OpenVPN connection, then it may be named after your VPN provider or it may use the generic TAP-Windows-Adapter VPN label. Right-click on it -> Properties.

    setup a vpn on apple tv over ethernet in windows 10 image 2
  5. Click on the Sharing tab and:
    a) Check Allow Other Network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.
    b) In the Select your private internet connection drop-down menu, select your Ethernet connection and hit OK.
    setup a vpn on apple tv over ethernet in windows 10 image 3
  6. Your Apple TV should now be sharing your Windows VPN connection, but it never hurts to reboot it just to be sure.

Share a VPN with Apple TV over WiFi (windows 10)

Windows 10 now has the ability to create a WiFi hotspot. This allows you to share your VPN connection with an Apple TV using a single WiFi adapter (whether it be a USB dongle, a WiFi card, or WiFi chip soldered onto your laptop’s motherboard).

  1. For this to work, though, you need a compatible WiFi adapter. Right-click Start -> Command Prompt and type (or copy and paste in):
    netsh wlan show drivers.
    Look for the line saying Hosted network supported:
    a) If it says “yes” then we can proceed with this guide.
    b) If it says “no” then you can try updating your WiFi drivers, although it may be easier to just get a new WiFi dongle. Alternatively, you can use the Ethernet method outlined above.
    setup a vpn on apple tv over ethernet in windows 10 image 4
  2. Go to Start -> Network & Internet -> Status -> Change your network settings -> Mobile hotspot. Turn Mobile hotspot On and make a note of its SSID settings (Network name and Network password).
    setup a vpn on apple tv over ethernet in windows 10 image 5
  3. Turn on your VPN.
  4. Go to start -> Settings ->Network & internet -> Status -> Change your network setting -> Change adapter options.
    setup a vpn on apple tv wifi in windows 10 image 6
  5. Note that you can now see your hotspot connection. It will be called “Local Area Connection* xx”, and labeled “Microsoft Wi-Fi Direct Virtual Adapter”.
    Find your VPN connection. If it is an OpenVPN connection, then it may be named after your VPN provider or it may use the generic “TAP-Windows-Adapter VPN” label. Right-click on it -> Properties.
    setup a vpn on apple tv wifi in windows 10 image 6
    Click on the Sharing tab and:
    a) Check “Allow Other Network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.”
    b) In the “Select your private internet connection” drop-down menu select your hotspot connection (Local Area Connection* xx”). Leave Allow other network users to control or disable shared Internet connection enabled and hit OK.
  6. Connect your Apple TV to the Windows hotspot you created via WiFi using the SSID details you noted in Step 2.2.

Sharing a Mac VPN connection with Apple TV

Share a VPN with Apple TV with an ethernet cable (MacOS)

For this method to work your Mac must be usually connected to the internet via WiFi.

MacBook Pros sport two Ethernet ports, while other models have none. USB-C and Thunderbolt accessories can provide additional Ethernet ports. If you have two more Ethernet ports available, then you can use a second port to connect to the internet instead of WiFi.

All Apple TV models, including the Apple TV 4K feature an Ethernet port.

This method uses the built-in macOS VPN client, and therefore only works using the PPTP, L2TP, or IKEv2 VPN protocols.

  1. Sign-up for one the VPN services listed above, and then manually configure the macOSVPNclienttouseit. Connect to a VPN server.

    connecting a VPN server to apple tv

  2. Connect your Apple TV to your computer using an Ethernet cable.
  3. Go to System Preferences -> Sharing. Then:
    a) Share your connection from: [the VPN connection you just manually setup].
    b) To computers using: [your Ethernet interface]. In the example below, our MacBook is using a USB to Ethernet adapter.
    c) Turn on Internet Sharing by clicking its checkbox (uncheck to turn off).

    setup apple tv vpn via ethernet on MacOS data-message=

     

Share a VPN With Apple TV over WiFi (MacOS)

This method requires your Mac to be connected to the internet via Ethernet cable or second WiFi adapter (such as a USB dongle). You can then connect to it over WiFi and benefit from the VPN. Unlike Windows 10, macOS is not able to create WiFi hotspot using a single WiFi adapter unless it is connected to the internet via a separate adapter.

Again, this method only works with the built-in macOS PPTP. L2TP and IKEv2 client. Not OpenVPN.

  1. Sign-up for one of the VPN services listed above, and then manually configure the macOS VPN client to use it. Connect to a VPN server.
  2. Connect your Apple TV to your computer using an Ethernet cable.
  3. Go to System Preferences -> Sharing. Then:
    a) Share your connection from: [the VPN connection you just manually setup]. b) To computers using: WiFi. c) Click on WiFi Options…
    Screen shot how to add VPN to Apple TV
    d) Check your network settings and select an SSID password for your new hotspot. Click “OK” when you’re done.
    Add VPN to apple TV using WiFI
    e) Turn on internet sharing by clicking its checkbox.
    tick internet sharing
    Use your VPNs smart DNS service.
  4. Find out the DNS address you will need from your VPN (if it offers this feature) or smart DNS provider.
    DNS Address
  5. On your Apple TV go to Settings -> General -> Language and Region -> Apple TV Language. Change “iTunes Store Location” to the same country as the DNS server you wish to use. In many cases, this will be the United States, but it might also be the UK if you want to watch BBC iPlayer.
  6. Then go to Settings -> Network -> Wi-Fi -> [your Wi-Fi connection] -> Change region on Apple TV
    a) Change “Configure DNS” from Automatic to Manual.
    Configure DNS Apple TV
    b) Click on “DNS” and then enter the DNS settings given to you by your provider.
  7. Restart your Apple TV and you should now be able to access US Netflix.

Why do I need a VPN for Apple TV?

A VPN is an online service that does two things:

  1. It provides digital privacy thanks to strong encryption. For more information on staying private online, check out our ultimate privacy guide.
  2. A VPN also allows you to pretend to be in a different country to bypass local censorship and website blocks, along with international geo-blocking, so you can access services that are restricted in your country. For more on this topic, we recommend taking a look at our guide to geo-spoofing.

For example, a VPN for Apple TV will give you a British IP address so that you can stream BBC iPlayer, which is free to watch for UK residents but is not available to overseas subscribers. Want to know more, take a look at our what is a VPN? Beginner's guide.

Using a VPN on Apple TV  to watch Netflix?

There are three different ways to access a foreign Netflix library on Apple TV. As it's not possible for you to download a VPN directly onto Apple TV, you will need to follow the steps above to set up a VPN of Apple TV. 

The router method is 100% effective, but it is pretty time consuming to set up - and expensive if you require a new router. The good news is that you can opt to share a VPN connection with your Apple TV. By connecting a PC or laptop to the VPN and then connecting your Apple TV to that computer you can enjoy internet access that is routed via the VPN server.

In addition to this relatively simple method, some premium VPN services, provide access to Netflix using smart DNS settings. Smart DNS is simply a technology that enables you to spoof your geo-location and so it is fantastic for streaming. ExpressVPN, which provides its "MediaStreamer" smart DNS service as part of the VPN subscription; and works excellently for streaming US Netflix. This allows you to access more Netflix from inside your Apple TV - without the need to connect it to a PC or set up a VPN on your router! However, it doesn't provide any security benefits at all.

Which method you decide to opt for is completely down to you. However, if you are after a quick solution, we tend to recommend subscribing to 

Can I use a free VPN  for Apple TV?

There are some reliable free VPNs on the market, unfortunately, because they restrict speeds and have data limits they just aren't suitable for streaming. To stream content on Apple TV, you are going to need an unrestricted VPN that does not place download limits or connection speed limitation on you. 

We understand that you may want to try a service out before purchasing one, in this case, you should take advantage of VPN free trials or money-back guarantees.  These services do not place restrict you in any way and so you get the speeds you need to stream content in HD.

Why you should opt for a high-speed Apple TV VPN

Using a VPN for Apple TV will slow down your internet connection. The further in the world you are from the VPN server you connect to, the slower it is likely to perform. If you connect to a server located nearer to you, however, you will get the best speeds possible – and you will be able to stream without any issues at all.

If you intend on using a VPN for Apple TV, you will probably want to connect to a VPN server in another country - to spoof your location and access geo-restricted content. This typically involves long distances, which is why it is important to choose a fast VPN capable of delivering HD content without buffering issues.

We recommend that you always test a few different VPN servers. This will allow you to find a server in the country you need that is not overloaded, and that is located as close as possible to you. For example, if you need a server in the US - be sure to pick either the East or West coast depending on where you live.

Is it illegal to use a VPN with Apple TV?

Using a VPN with an Apple Tv is not against the law. However, copyright holders would prefer you not to use a VPN on Apple TV to bypass purposefully imposed content restrictions. However, other than requiring platforms like Netflix to block as many VPNs as possible - there is little they can do about it.

No streaming service we know of has ever banned an individual user for bypassing geo-blocks. This is because they would lose that user's subscription fee, which would be counterproductive.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to set up a VPN on Apple TV and the best services to use, let's review our top picks:

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN to use with Apple TV. You get excellent unblocking power & speeds good enough for streaming in HD & 4K!
  2. CyberGhost VPN - An easy to set up VPN for Apple TV. It supports all major platforms, including routers and you get great speeds to stream in HD.
  3. Private Internet Access - A secure VPN that works well with Apple TV. The app is intuitive and super customisable and you get a strong no logs policy.
  4. Surfshark - The cheapest VPN for Apple TV. From just $1.94 you can get great speeds for streaming & it consistently unblocks streaming servers.
  5. VyprVPN - A VPN for Apple TV with SmartDNS included. This makes unblocking on Apple TV super easy & you get speeds that can handle HD.

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. 

5 Comments

Antonio Tejada
on February 6, 2020
Reply
"No Mac has more than one built-in Ethernet port " — Actually, all Mac Pro computers have dual built-in Ethernet ports. (Dual 10Gbps on the 2019 model, dual gigabit on all earlier models.) And of course, as you say, additional Ethernet interfaces can be added via USB or Thunderbolt dongles, or via PCIe expansion cards on models with PCIe slots.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Antonio Tejada
on February 7, 2020
Reply
Hi Antonio. Ah. My mistake. Fixed now.
Moinul
on June 18, 2017
Reply
very excellent and useful post. thank you
Steve
on February 11, 2017
Reply
I've been using unotelly, which provides a DNS number that you plug directly into your Apple TV and that's it. Service can be spotty at times but for the most part it works fine.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Steve
on February 13, 2017
Reply
Hi Steve, Sure. But this list is for 5 Best VPNs, and UnoTelly is primarily a smart DNS service (although admittedly one that also offers VPN).
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