5 Best VPNs for Apple TV in 2019

Using an Apple TV VPN will vastly increase the number of shows you can watch. By connecting to a VPN server located overseas you can access streams that are usually geo-restricted to that region. 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.

Notice

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.

What are the best VPNs for Apple TV?

Below you will get a quick look at our expertly chosen Apple TV VPNs. These are the best VPNs for Apple TV for a number of reasons. To discover the criteria we used, and to see in-depth summaries for each provider - please scroll down.

  1. ExpressVPN - is a great choice for speedy streaming with Apple TV
  2. VyprVPN - is an easy to use VPN with speedy servers for streaming
  3. NordVPN - is a great privacy focused VPN that works well with Apple TV
  4. VPNArea - is a speedy VPN that's super user friendly - perfect for Apple TV
  5. ProtonVPN - Is from the creators of Proton Mail, it's a great choice for the privacy conscious

Best 5 VPNs for Apple TV 4K

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 where we have thoroughly audited and tested every aspect of the VPN. 

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN offers great speeds, making it a great choice for streaming through Apple TV

  • Pricing

    From $6.67 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

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

The VPN is incredibly reliable, is highly secure and is lightning fast – perfect for streaming in HD. Furthermore, it is one of the few VPNs that unblock US Netflix.

2. VyprVPN

VyprVPN has a great network of speedy servers for streaming

  • Pricing

    From $5.00 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS
    • MacOS
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

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 be run on five simultaneous devices. Also useful for your Apple TV is that Vypr provides a detailed DD-WRT setup guide. Furthermore, it can be purchased pre-flashed on a router.

VyprVPN is a fully featured VPN with a killswitch, 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.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN is a VPN giant and works great with Apple TV

  • Pricing

    From $3.49 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • iOS
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

NordVPN is based in Panama and is a VPN that is highly subscribed all around the world. It is a zero-logs VPN that is fully featured with a killswitch, obfuscated servers, auto-connect, DNS leak protection, And Tor through VPN.

NordVPN is fantastic because it permits P2P, and can be purchased on a pre-flashed router. This truly is an all-around VPN solution, that is extremely affordable.

4. VPNArea

VPNArea is a lightening fast and a great choice for streaming

  • Pricing

    From $2.99 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • iOS
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

VPNArea is an excellent choice for an Apple TV because it is very fast. The software is very easy to use and can be installed on a flash router – or bought pre-flashed. It can be used on five simultaneous devices and has a seven-day free trial that allows you to thoroughly test the service. An all around amazing VPN for Apple TV that has very strong encryption and a zero-logs policy.

5. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is a great choice for the privacy conscious

  • Pricing

    From $8.00 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS

ProtonVPN is a superb new VPN service by the creators of Proton Mail. It has fantastic security features and it is based in Switzerland. Its secure core network allows it to provide fantastic speeds for streaming.

ProtonVPN is easy to use, has software for all platforms, and permits five simultaneous connections so that you can use the VPN on all your devices. Proton is also fully featured with a killswitch, DNS leak protection, a no logs policy, and Tor through VPN. Finally, ProtonVPN also provides a free service so that you can take the VPN for a test run. 

How to 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.

Change DNS settings

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 the example, because it is our top choice for streaming in HD. However, you can do the same with any VPN in this guide.

  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.

Use a VPN router

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:

  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.

How to set up a VPN for Apple TV without a VPN router

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. 

Windows users 

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 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 adapteroptions.

    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.

Mac Users

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.

No Mac has more than one built-in Ethernet port and many have none. But 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 macOSVPN client to use it. 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 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, 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.

For more information about using a VPN with streaming sites, see the guides below:

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. 

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. Ray is currently rated #4 VPN and #3 internet privacy authority by Agilience.com.

3 Comments

  1. Moinul

    on June 18, 2017
    Reply

    very excellent and useful post. thank you

  2. 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.

    1. 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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