Apple TV VPN: 5 Setup Methods and Recommended Apps
Getting a VPN service is becoming increasingly common in the digital world. It keeps you anonymous online and offers strong security, all while bypassing geographical limitations and content restrictions.
The downside, however, is that most VPNs do not offer an application for Apple TVs, like with other macOS and iOS devices. This means, you need to put some extra effort into using a VPN on the Apple TV via 5 setup methods.
In this article, I’ll be giving you information on how to use a VPN subscription for accessing blocked content on streaming sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Prime Video on your Apple TV, while getting maximum protection online.
Why would I use a VPN on my Apple TV?
First and foremost, the primary reason of using a VPN is to receive anonymity online. However, when it comes to Apple TV and other streaming devices, VPNs are used for unblocking geo-restricted content. For instance, accessing US Netflix is quite a common activity.
Now, Netflix does not appreciate users who unblock their service, as it goes against their Terms of Service, but the company has never suspended anyone for the act. Albeit, it has employed one of the strongest VPN detection systems, second to the “Great Firewall of China”.
By using obfuscation technology, most VPNs are able to bypass those detection systems, and we’ve tested this with numerous providers. After a quick chat with their 24/7 support teams, I was able to connect to servers that allowed access to US Netflix on my Apple TV.
The Best VPNs for Apple TV
VPNs tend to be useful for Apple TV because they allow for seamless unblocking of streaming platforms/channels and geo-restricted content worldwide. That should be good enough reason to get a VPN for your Apple TV, especially if you are a binge-watcher.
Here is a list of the best VPNs for Apple TV 4, 3, and 1:
- ExpressVPN: Best VPN for Apple TV. Easy-to-use Router app interface. Costs $6.67/mo
- NordVPN: Stream in 4k Quality. Pre-configured routers are available. Costs $3.49/mo
- Surfshark: Affordable VPN for Apple TV. User-friendly and intuitive app. Costs $1.99/mo
- PureVPN: Popular Choice for Unblocking. Smooth unblocking of VoDs. Costs $2.91/mo
- Ivacy VPN: Great App Interface on Apple TV. Fast servers for streaming. Costs $2.25/mo
1. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for Apple TV
Based in British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN is renowned for its turbo speed streaming and torrent servers. It establishes a brilliant 3,000+ server network across to unblock Netflix US, Voot, Hotstar, Disney Plus and more.
ExpressVPN is compatible with all 4th generation Apple TV devices and does not present issues in the configuration as all guides are available on their website support. The provider also works smoothly with iPhones, MacBook’s, iPods and iPads!
From easy to understand tutorial videos to responsive live chat support, the provider even offers all kinds of help to make it easier for you to set up your VPN on Apple TV and start using it, be it via router support or the SmartDNS method.
For more information, check out this full ExpressVPN review!
2. NordVPN: Stream in 4K Quality
Based in Panama, NordVPN is one of the safest privacy tools in the marketplace, which has native apps for every platform/device you can think of. From having its own specialized routers to providing access to all versions of the Apple TV, NordVPN has got your back.
Typically, NordVPN offers two ways to setup the VPN on your Apple TV: configure your router or setup a hotspot from your laptop/smartphone. Both ways are incredibly easy to follow through. In fact, I would recommend you to check this quick guide on how to set-up NordVPN on Apple TV. One can also get the NordVPN free trial for 30 days.
- Easy Apple TV VPN Setup Process
- Preconfigured Routers for Apple TV
- DoubleVPN and CyberSec Features
- SOCKS5 Proxy for Safe Torrenting
- 5500+ Servers in 58 Countries Worldwide
- Expensive Monthly Pricing
For more information, check out this full NordVPN review!
3. Surfshark: Affordable VPN for Apple TV
This fresh entrant to the VPN industry, delivers the best deal out of the lot, especially if we consider its offered features and capabilities versus its subscription price. It is a universal VPN available at a budget-firendly price.
If you want an Apple TV and VPN combination that does not come with a steep cost, just subscribe to Surfshark at only $1.99/mo (2-year deal). The provider offers great compatibility with Apple TV.
It supports all forms of setting up a VPN, including router, Windows internet sharing method, and SmartDNS. From Netflix to Hulu, Surfshark also unblocks all famous US-based streaming sites from anywhere in the world!
- $1.99/month (2-year plan)
- Works on Apple TV Smoothly
- 30-Day refund guarantee
- 1700+ servers in 63 countries
- Requires iOS 9.0 or later
- Did not work in China
For more information, check out this full Surfshark review!
4. PureVPN: Popular Choice for Unblocking
Headquartered in Hong Kong, PureVPN is the cheapest VPN service for Apple TVs. The provider gives detailed info on how to use a VPN on Apple TV through wireless routers, a Wi-Fi Hotspot, and even using an Ethernet Connection.
Once you sign up, you gain access to 2,000+ Servers and 300,000+ IPs in over 180 locations, including Canada and United Kingdom. The provideralso offers Split Tunneling, and other features like SOCKS5 proxies and dedicated IPs.
If you want to use it as an Apple TV VPN, you can set it up via router as that’s the best and the most stable route with zero chances of encountering any problems. You can also use the iOS VPN app by PureVPN to initiate the Airplay.
- Easy Router Setup for PureVPN on Apple TV
- P2P/Torrenting Enabled & Port Forwarding
- Unblocks BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Sling TV
- 300,000 + IPs & 2000 + servers in 140 countries
- DDoS Protection and Internet Kill Switch
- No Free Trial (Paid Version Only)
For more information, check out this full PureVPN review!
5. Ivacy VPN: Great App Interface on Apple TVs
Based in Singapore, Ivacy is the second-best option as a VPN for your Apple TV. In addition to being the creator of Split Tunneling and an exceptional choice for Chinese users, the provider in this context supports 3 different methods for Apple TV VPN setup.
Firstly, you can set Ivacy on a router and automatically route your internet connection to Apple TV via a secure connection. Just change the server from your router controls and you can get unblocked sites on your Apple TV easily.
Secondly, it has apps for Windows and Mac devices, so you can create a virtual router and extend support to your Apple TV VPN. Thirdly, Ivacy has an excellent iOS app through which you can use Airplay option for streaming.
- Easy Apple TV VPN Setup Process
- Preconfigured Routers for Apple TV VPN
- Split Tunneling and Automatic Kill Switch
- 1000+ Servers in 100 Locations Worldwide
- SOCKS5 Proxy for Safe Torrenting
- Live chat is a bit clunky
For more information, check out this full Ivacy review!
How to Use a VPN on Apple TV
There are five ways to use a VPN on Apple TVs:
- Configuring a VPN on your Wi-Fi router
- Getting a pre-configured VPN router
- Setting up a virtual router
- Using AirPlay Mirror
- Changing your DNS
Method 1: Configuring a VPN on your Wi-Fi Router
I will try to make things easier to understand but brace yourself as things will get a little tricky. First of all, some routers support VPN connections, and others do not. To find out if yours does, log into your router dashboard.
You can do this by typing 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 into the URL of your web browser. Next, enter your user credentials. If you are unaware about the login details, read the router manually, consult your ISP, or google the default credentials for your router model.
After making it to the dashboard, look for a way to set up a VPN connection. You can find this in the “Services” tab, following by the “VPN” sub-tab. If none exists, you will have to upgrade the firmware with an open-source alternative, like DD-WRT.
Upgrading Your Routers’ Firmware to DD-WRT
- Enter the following URL into your browser https://dd-wrt.com/support/router-database/
- Search for the router model you are using, click on the name, and download both files listed.
- Go to the “Administration” section in your router dashboard and click on “Firmware Update”.
- Choose “Select File” and upload the DD-WRT firmware update you downloaded earlier.
- The new router dashboard will look a little something like the screenshot you see below:
Setting Up a OpenVPN on your New DD-WRT Firmware
- Download the OpenVPN Configuration Files from any of the Apple TV VPNs listed below.
- In your web browser, go to your router settings by entering 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1.
- Once in the control panel, click on the “Services” tab, followed by the “VPN” sub-tab.
- You will now see three different protocols. Enable “Start OpenVPN Client” option.
Start Filling in the OpenVPN Client Settings
- You will now gain access to OpenVPN Configuration Panel, where you can enter custom VPN settings.
- Server IP / Name: of the .ovpn file or server provided from the VPN you signed up with.
- Port Address: You will get this address form your VPN too.
- Tunnel Device: Select the “TUN” option.
- Tunnel Protocol: UDP or TCP.
- Encryption Cipher: AES.
- Hash Algorithm: SHA256.
- Advanced Options: Enabled.
- TLS Cipher: not checked.
- LZO Compression: Adaptive.
- NAT: Disable.
- Firewall Protection: Enable.
- IP Address: leave blank.
- Subnet Mask: leave blank.
- Tunnel MTU setting: 1500.
- UDP Fragment:1450.
- Tunnel UDP MSS-Fix: Enable.
- nsCertType verification: Checked ✔
Method 2: Setting Up a Pre-Configured VPN Router
You can find pre-configured DD-WRT and Tomato VPN routers from the experts at Flash Routers. They have 16 varied providers available. If you ask me though, I would personally recommend using ExpressVPN, as it offers the best configurations.
Their routers are among the only few that come with a built-in app too. It is known as the ExpressVPN Router app. If you want access to this app, it comes free for users of specific Linksys router models. These include:
- WRT1900AC 13J1
- WRT1900AC 13J2
How to Connect to Different Servers on Pre-Configured VPN Routers:
- Sign up for an ExpressVPN account by purchasing a subscription from here.
- Connect the Ethernet cable to your new pre-configured ExpressVPN router.
- Once the router boots, go the http://www.expressvpnrouter.com/ or (or 192.168.42.1).
- Login by using “Admin” as the username and entering the 8-digit password.
- You can find the relevant password at the bottom of your router.
- If the password is printed as 1234-5678, enter it as 12345678.
- You will now be required to activate your ExpressVPN account.
- Sign in to your account, click on setup ExpressVPN, and copy the 23-digit activation code.
- Paste it in the ExpressVPN Router “Account Setup” menu and hit the “Activate” button.
- You will now gain access to all features of the ExpressVPN Router App dashboard.
- Configure the Wi-Fi connection and then click on the “VPN Connection” tab.
- You should now be able to access ExpressVPN’s 2,000 servers in 94 countries and 148 locations.
- Select any location and hit the “Connect” button. Now connect your Apple TV to the Wi-Fi!
Method 3: Creating a VPN-Enabled Virtual Router
Creating a VPN-Enabled Virtual Router for Windows
- Launch the Windows Search bar and type in CMD.
- Right click on “Command Prompt” and then “Run as Administrator”.
- Type netsh wlan show drivers into the CMD and hit the “Enter” button.
- Look for the line Hosted network supported and see if it says “Yes”.
- If it does, you can create a Wi-Fi hotspot of your own.
- In the command prompt, type netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=<MY-NETWORK> key=<MY-PASSWORD>.
- Replace <MY-NETWORK< and <MY-PASSWORD> with a name and password of your choice. For example, netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=ItHurtsWhenIP key=helloworld.
- When you press “Enter”, you should receive some text informing that the process of creating a virtual router is successful.
- Now, you need to turn the connection “On”. In order to do so, type in netsh wlan start hostednetwork in CMD and hit “Enter”.
- You will now receive a message saying that “The hosted network started”.
- Now, right click on the “Network” icon in the “System Tray” and select “Open Network & Internet Settings”.
- Click on “Change Adapter Options” and find the network you just created, along with the one that says “TAP-Windows Adapter”.
- Right click “Ethernet” and select “Properties”. Head to the “Sharing” tab at the top and check the box that says “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection”.
- Under “Home network connection”, click the dropdown menu and select the name of the network you created earlier i.e. ItHurtsWhenIP – Local Area Connection 12. Press Ok
- Launch your VPN app. I am using ExpressVPN. Shift the protocol to OpenVPN, and connect to a server in whatever location you wish.
- Using OpenVPN will activate the TAP Windows Adapter. Now, connect your Apple TV to the connection you created i.e. “ItHurtsWhenIP”.
Creating a VPN-Enabled Virtual Router for Mac
- Click on the “Apple” logo, at the top right corner of the screen.
- From the list of options, select the “System Preferences” option.
- A pop-up menu will appear. Click on the “Network” icon.
- In the Network window, click on the plus (+) sign at the bottom left.
- Select the following options:
- Interface: VPN
- VPN Type: L2TP over IPSec
- Service Name: (Add a Name for the VPN Connection)
- Hit the “Create” button to register the connection.
- Check the box next to “Show VPN status in menu bar”.
Configuring the VPN Connection
You will now be required to enter a username, password, and server address, along with an IPSec Key from your VPN providers’ settings. Most providers will list this under the Manual Configuration section of their website, along with a list of servers. Enter the following details:
- Configuration: Default
- Server Address: [server address of your choice] I have added one from ExpressVPN!
- Account Name: [username] I got the username from ExpressVPN too.
Adding the Authentication Settings
- After configuring the VPN, click on “Authentication Settings”.
- Enter your password in the box (provided from your VPN).
- Add the IPSec key in the “Shared Secret” box under Machine Authentication.
- Most computers typically use the generic “12345678” for the IPSec pre-shared key.
Setting Up Your VPN for Sharing
- Click on the “Advanced” button, after hitting the “Ok” button above.
- Check the box for “Send all traffic over VPN connection”.
- Hit the “Apply” button for saving all the connection settings.
- Click on the network you created and hit the “Connect” button.
- You are now connected to a VPN server. Return to the “System Preferences” menu.
- Select “Sharing” and once in the menu, click on “Internet Sharing”.
- The Internet Sharing options will appear on the right side of the screen.
- Share your connection from [the connection you just created].
- To computers using: check the box for Wi-Fi.
- Now, select “Wi-Fi Settings” for further configuration.
- Enter the Following Details.
- Network Name: [choose a network name].
- Channel: [leave as default].
- Security: WPA2 Personal.
- Password: [choose a password].
- Verify: [re-enter your password].
- Once filled, hit the “Ok” button.
- Return to the previous menu and check the box next to “Internet Sharing”.
- You will receive a prompt requesting you to turn on Internet Sharing. Click on “Start”.
- Once Internet Sharing is activated, a green light will appear next to: “Internet Sharing: On.”
Method 4: Using a VPN without a Router (via AirPlay Mirror)
- Select any provider from the premium list above and subscribe for an account.
- Once done, download the relevant app for your device i.e. iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
- Launch the VPN application and connect to a safe and secure location.
- Open any app and find the video that you want to AirPlay to your Apple TV.
- Tap the “Screen Mirror” icon. In some apps, you may need to tap on another menu.
- Choose your Apple TV. If you cannot find it, then make sure the iOS and TV are connected on the same network.
Since you will be connected to a VPN, you will easily be able to unblock any VoD service on your iPhone or iPad.
Mirroring the screen to your Apple TV will then allow you to enjoy your favorite movies/TV shows on a bigger screen, minus the hassle!
Method 5: Setting Up a Smart DNS Proxy for Apple TV
- Switch on your Apple TV and head to the “Settings” Menu
- Navigate to “General” and then select “Network”
- Choose “Wi-Fi” if you use a Wireless network
- Choose “Ethernet” if you have a wired connection
- Go to “Configure DNS” and switch it to “Manual”
- Enter an Alternate DNS Server or Smart DNS Proxy
- You can get one from your VPN provider or from here
- After entering DNS and Proxy Settings hit the “Confirm” button
- Go to “Settings”, navigate to “General”, and click on iTunes Store
- In the “Location” menu, select the country you want to connect to
- Return to the main menu put the Apple to in “Sleep Now”
- Unplug the Apple TV Power Cord and wait ten seconds
- Plug the cord back in and enjoy easy unblocking via SmartDNS/Proxy
Can I Use a Free VPN for Apple TV?
I usually advise all my readers to stay away from free VPN services. In simple words, they are not trustworthy at all. Most will not charge you for their product but will steal private information and sell it to third-party services.
After all, how can a FREE service afford the costs for server maintenance, app developing, updates/patches, and other VPN-related expenses? If you still want to go with a free option though, here are some less riskier options:
VPNs to Avoid with Apple TV
- Hola VPN
- Hotspot Shield
Apple TV Countries
In terms of functionality and features, those located in the US receive much more convenience. For instance, if you search for providers in the US, Apple TV will display over 60+ names for you to select.
On the other hand, if you do the same for Australia, it only scans 10. The infamous “Siri” is also restricted to the following countries and languages (listed below)
If you want more specific information about content providers, features, and apps available in your country, check out Apple’s official website.
- United States (Spanish, English)
- United Kingdom (English)
- Sweden (Swedish)
- Spain (Spanish)
- Japan (Japanese)
- Norway (Norwegian Bokmal)
- Netherlands (Dutch)
- Mexico (Spanish)
- France (French)
- Germany (German)
- Canada (French, English)
- Australia (English)
For a more detailed picture, you can also view apps supported by region from here, which are dissected country-wise like in the screenshot below for maximum convenience.
Wrapping Things Up
For Apple TV devices, the most recommended choice is ExpressVPN and for good reason. The provider offers high compatiblity with the TV, due to its exceptional router app and pre-configured routers.
It delivers fast speeds on all servers, making it perfect for streaming HD content on big screen devices. ExpressVPN can also unblock virtually any streaming site. As such, the subscription price of $6.67/month seems justified.
However, if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, I suggest signing up for the infamous, Surfshark. It starts at a minimal of $1.99/mo. but delivers the same reliability as you’d expect from ExpressVPN.
I hope you find the instructions helpful while configuring a VPN with whatever method you find most suitable. Regardless, if you encounter any issues/problems, do not hesitate on commenting below! 😀