Apple TV is proving a worthy contender to the likes of the Roku and Amazon streaming players. However, as its portal of content widens, so does the disparity between what’s available in different regions. If you take your Apple TV out of the country where your iTunes account and payment method are registered, you’ll soon run into problems accessing geo-restricted content.
While you can’t use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) directly with Apple TV, there are workarounds. The best VPNs for Apple TV are easy to set up on a router, or have their own smart DNS service. I’ll look at each VPN provider in more detail later in this article. For now, here’s a list of the best VPNs for Apple TV:
- NordVPN: My first choice for Apple TV. Impressive speeds, globe-spanning server network, and great for accessing a range of services. Comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Best budget VPN. Offers decent speeds, allows an unlimited number of device connections, and works well with Apple TV.
- ExpressVPN: Excellent security and privacy features. Also great at accessing a variety of streaming services.
- IPVanish: Military-grade encryption, fast speeds, and sells pre-flashed DD-WRT routers that can be used with Apple TV.
- PrivateVPN: A great all-rounder with excellent privacy features and high speeds for streaming content from Apple.
- VyprVPN: Great for accessing a number of streaming providers, and has its own private and encrypted DNS service.
- Private Internet Access: Good for streaming, with an impressive number of servers in all Apple TV regions. Operates a zero-logs policy.
Choosing a VPN for Apple TV can seem a little confusing – particularly as the device doesn’t directly support VPNs. I based my choices using the following criteria:
- Servers concentrated in regions where Apple TV is supported
- Fast, unthrottled connections for lag-free streaming
- Responsive customer support that is able to assist with set-up questions
- Robust privacy and security
- Can be installed on router or available on pre-flashed router
I will go into more detail on the testing methodology later in this article.
Best VPNs for Apple TV
So, without further ado, here are the best VPNs for Apple TV.
NordVPN has a massive bank of servers covering every region where Apple TV operates. They’re fast and reliable too, so you’ll be able to stream HD and 4K content without buffering or lag. NordVPN can access all of the major Apple TV streaming services, such as Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, ESPN, and Disney.
It offers anti-malware and ad-blocking features, as well as 256-bit AES encryption. There’s DNS protection, and it adheres to a strict no-logging policy. You can connect up to six devices simultaneously. If you configure NordVPN on your router, you’ll use just one of these connections.
NordVPN has apps for iOS, Android, Linux, macOS, and Windows. It can be configured on routers running the following firmware: AsusWRT Merlin, DD-WRT, DrayTek Vigor, OpenWRT, OPNsense 19.1, Padavan, pfSense, Sabai, and Tomato.
You can also buy routers pre-configured with NordVPN – as well as a range of servers – meaning you can connect straight to Apple TV from the get-go. Another option is to use NordVPN’s smart DNS service. This DNS proxy tool enables you to use your Apple TV while abroad, though it doesn’t offer the same suite of privacy and security benefits as a VPN.
- Can be installed on a range of routers
- Server network covers all Apple TV regions
- Very fast and reliable
- Robust security and privacy features
- Helpful 24/7 live chat support
- Apps can take a bit of getting used to
BEST VPN FOR APPLE TV:NordVPN is my top choice. It can be installed on a wide range of routers and provides safe and secure connections. Works great with Apple TV streaming services around the world. You can try it risk-free with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Surfshark is a great option for those wanting a low-cost VPN that is nevertheless fast and reliable. It has servers in all the regions in which Apple TV is available, and can provide lag-free, bufferless streaming for HD and 4K content.
The company offers AES 256 GCM encryption, private DNS and leak protection, RAM-only servers, and an independently audited no-logs policy. There’s also the option to block ads, trackers, and malware automatically. Surfshark uses the Wireguard, IKEv2/IPsec, and OpenVPN UDP / TCP protocols.
A standalone smart DNS feature is included in the subscription price. This enables you to stream content from abroad by changing Apple TV’s default DNS servers to Surfshark’s. Bear in mind, however, that this isn’t as safe and secure as using a VPN.
A better option for using Apple TV is to install Surshark onto your router, which will provide protection to all the devices on your network. There are detailed set up guides available for Asus routers, as well as those running DD-WRT and Tomato firmware.
Surfshark allows an unlimited number of device connections, which is relatively unusual for a VPN provider. It has apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux.
- Subscriptions include a smart DNS service
- High speeds
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Strong on security and privacy
- Great for streaming
- Relatively modest server network
- Occasional slow server
BEST BUDGET OPTION:Surfshark is a relatively low-cost VPN offering a great range of features, including a smart DNS service compatible with Apple TV. You can try it for free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN is able to access all of the major streaming services, whilst providing a reliably fast connection. You can expect no log or buffering issues while watching HD and 4K content using Apple TV.
Online activity is safely secured using 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, and DNS leak protection. There’s also a kill switch that stops internet traffic if the VPN connection drops out. The company has a strict no-log policy, and is based in the British Virgin Islands where there are no user data retention laws
ExpressVPN subscribers have access to ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer service, which acts as a DNS proxy to spoof your location and help you access geo-restricted content. Note that Apple TV does allow you to change the default DNS settings. The downside is that MediaStreamer doesn’t offer the privacy and security benefits of a VPN.
To use Apple TV with ExpressVPN, you’ll need to install the VPN on your router. ExpressVPN makes its own custom router firmware, and provides instructions for installing it on Asus, Linksys, and Netgear routers. If this seems too intimidating, you can purchase a router with ExpressVPN already installed. Live customer support is available 24/7 if you need help or advice.
- Works well with Apple TV
- Reliably fast
- Outstanding privacy and security
- Slightly more expensive than rivals
- Unlabeled streaming servers
DEDICATED DNS SERVICE:ExpressVPN is super-secure and the MediaStreamer service provides a good way to stream Apple TV content from abroad. Try ExpressVPN without risk with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
IPVanish is slightly different from other VPNs in that it owns its server network. This isn’t quite as expansive as some other top-tier providers, but there are servers present in all of the same regions as Apple TV. The VPN is very fast, which means streaming in HD and 4K is pleasingly lag-free. It cannot access all of the major providers, though it works very well with Kodi.
The provider uses 256-bit encryption on the Wireguard protocol by default – though there are several other protocols to choose from. SHA512 is used for authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2048 key exchange supports perfect forward secrecy. IPVanish uses private DNS servers and has built-in DNS leak protection.
If you want to use Apple TV with a VPN, you’ll need to configure IPVanish on your router. The company supports high-end RT series ASUS routers, those with either stock ASUSWRT firmware or the custom ASUS-Merlin firmware, and also DD-WRT and Tomato flashed routers. Customer support is available to help you configure IPVanish – though not if you’re trying to install firmware.
If you don’t want to try configuring a router yourself, you can buy one with IPVanish pre-installed from Flash Routers. When you’re away from your home network, your devices can stay protected by using an IPVanish app. These are available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, ChromeOS, and Fire TV.
- High speeds
- Strong encryption
- Doesn’t work with some popular streaming services
- Doesn’t have proper live chat
- Based in the US
VERY FAST VPN:IPVanish is one of the fastest VPNs around and is a great option for those who want to use Kodi with Apple TV. You can try IPVanish risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PrivateVPN offers quick, reliable connections and the ability to access content from a variety of Apple TV stalwarts, including Netflix, Disney, and Hulu. Unlimited bandwidth means you don’t have to restrict how much you watch.
Your data is protected using AES-256 encryption, though you can lower this to 128-bit for faster connections. SHA256 is used for HMAC authentication, in conjunction with 2,048-bit RSA keys for perfect forward secrecy. PrivateVPN keeps no logs of any customer internet traffic.
PrivateVPN allows torrenting, with the company recommending its Swedish servers for this purpose. Useful features include port forwarding for more peer connections in a torrent swarm, and system-wide and app-specific kill switches – though these are only available in the Windows app.
You can install PrivateVPN via OpenVPN on Asus RT routers, as well as some from Synology, Linksys, QNAP, and pfSense. Routers flashed with Tomato or DD-WRT firmware will work too. PrivateVPN has detailed set-up guides if you need help.
When you’re not at home – or wherever the router is – you can connect up to nine devices simultaneously (10 if you don’t count the router). Lightweight apps are available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire TV.
- Lots of router installation options
- Very fast
- Good access to streaming services
- Relatively small network of servers
- Live chat not 24/7
- Kill switch is Windows only
ADJUSTABLE ENCRYPTION:PrivateVPN is small but mighty – able to access all major streaming services and provide excellent speeds too. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN may have a server network numbering in the hundreds, rather than the thousands, but it is a solid performer nonetheless. It boasts fast speeds, uncrackable encryption, and works well with streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Disney.
To use VyprVPN with Apple TV, you’ll need to install it on your router. This is possible on routers running AsusWRT, OpenWRT, and DD-WRT – a Linux-based firmware. You can find the latest OpenVPN-capable build of DD-WRT and install it yourself. Be warned though, if you don’t get it right you could permanently damage your router.
A better option if you’re unsure is to buy a pre-flashed router – then you just need to install VyprVPN. Customer support is available to help you do this, though this is via email rather than live.
VyprVPN subscribers can connect up to five devices simultaneously, with lightweight apps available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. Apart from the iOS app, these come with a built-in kill switch and public WiFi protection.
Internet traffic is secured using 256-bit AES-CBC encryption with 2,048-bit RSA keys and SHA256 authentication. VyprVPN doesn’t store any logs, and while there’s protection against DNS leaks, it doesn’t guarantee WebRTC and IPv6 leak protection.
- Works well with Apple TV
- Doesn’t keep logs
- Relatively small server network
- Some leak protection are not guaranteed
- Relatively expensive for what you get
NO DATA CAPS:VyprVPN offers decent speeds, good access to streaming services, and will work with Apple TV when installed on a router. It’s not the cheapest, but you can try it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a reputable VPN with a strong commitment to privacy. It has a large network of servers and speeds are decent too – I streamed 4K content with no buffering or other issues.
Security is provided by either 128-bit or 256-bit AES-GCM encryption. The company keeps zero logs of customer activity while connected – this includes timestamps and IP addresses.
Lightweight apps are available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. These are customizable, with a variety of options for new layouts. Depending on which app you use, features include ad-blocking, a snooze function, and a custom web browser.
Subscriptions include connections for up to 10 devices simultaneously. Configuring a router with Private Internet Access counts as just one of the ten, and is possible using OpenVPN on routers running DD-WRT, LEDE, or AsusWRT firmware.
If configuring a router feels too intimidating, PIA offers a smart DNS feature that enables you to change your virtual location directly on an Apple TV – though you won’t benefit from full VPN protection.
- Can be installed on routers
- Lots of customization possible
- Doesn’t work with some major streaming services
- App design could be better
- Streaming not the fastest
SMART DNS SERVICE:Private Internet Access is a trustworthy provider that offers a simplified smart DNS service for Apple TV, as well as options for router installation. You can try it for free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
How I found the best VPN for Apple TV: my methodology
Using a VPN ensures that your internet traffic is both private and secure. This is why – even though Apple TV doesn’t directly support VPNs – I think it’s worth making the extra effort to use one. The VPNs I’ve chosen were selected based on the following features:
- Router compatibility: Installing a VPN on your router ensures you’re protected while using Apple TV. I’ve only considered those VPNs that work with a variety of router firmware and are willing and able to help you get set up.
- Global server network: A good VPN will have servers around the world. I’ve chosen those that have servers in the same regions where Apple TV is available. This means that wherever you are in the world, there’s a fast server in your region to connect to.
- Connection speed: There’s little point being able to use Apple TV with a VPN if it’s too slow to properly stream content. This is why I’ve only chosen VPNs without bandwidth limitations, and which are capable of streaming HD and 4K content.
- Streaming services: The content available via Apple TV is different depending on where you are in the world. With this in mind, I’ve only selected VPNs that are able to access a range of major streaming services – such as Netflix, HBO, Disney and Hulu – as well as working well with Apple TV.
- Security: I require the best VPNs for Apple TV to offer 256-bit AES encryption as a bare minimum. They should also have DNS leak protection, kill switches, perfect forward secrecy, and data obfuscation.
- Privacy: Privacy is one of the major drivers behind wanting to use a VPN, so I only recommend VPNs that do not log any personally identifiable customer data. I additionally prefer those that allow you to sign up anonymously and pay for subscriptions in cryptocurrency.
- Fair pricing: Some VPNs cost more than others. What I look at is whether that cost is justified. The best VPN for Apple TV may not be the most expensive, but it offers the best overall value for money. All of my chosen VPNs offer a good deal – and you may be able to make further savings using one of my VPN discount coupons.
My research doesn’t end here. I rigorously test each VPN to see how it performs in these areas and more. If I like what I see, I’ll recommend it to you.
How to use NordVPN with Apple TV
Apple TVs don’t support VPN software, but you can still secure them with a VPN connection in a couple of ways:
- Install NordVPN on your router.
- Share the VPN connection with your Apple TV.
The exact process of installing a VPN on your router will depend on its particular firmware, but most installations have these three steps:
- Find your router’s IP address.
- Log in to your router.
- Configure your router for a VPN connection.
For in-depth setup instructions, visit this Nord VPN support page. If you’d prefer not to try installing NordVPN on your router, you can buy pre-configured routers or try setting up a VPN for Apple TV on a virtual router.
To do this, you’ll need an extra laptop to connect to NordVPN and act as a WiFi hotspot for other devices – like Apple TV – to connect to. This is still a fairly involved process, so NordVPN has provided guides on how to do it.
- To share a VPN via a mobile hotspot on Windows 10, click here.
- To share a VPN via a wireless connection from Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10, click here.
How to access Apple TV content using smartDNS
If you can’t set up a VPN, you can still access region-locked content by changing the DNS servers in your Apple TV. Some VPNs, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, have a DNS service that can be used independently of the VPN. Others, like VyprVPN, don’t.
To manually set the DNS servers on your Apple TV, follow these steps:
- On your Apple TV, go to General > Network.
- Click on WiFi at the top and select your network.
- Select Configure DNS > Manual.
- Enter the DNS server address provided by your VPN service. As an example, for NordVPN, set Primary DNS: 18.104.22.168 Set Secondary DNS (if available): 22.214.171.124
- Select Done.
- Restart Apple TV.
Can I use a free VPN for Apple TV?
Not really. As a general rule, free VPNs aren’t compatible with router installation. Even if you could use a free VPN with Apple TV, I’d strongly advise against it. Free VPNs have a poor track record when it comes to keeping users’ data safe and secure. Trackers are common and most free VPNs have some kind of logging policy.
As free VPNs don’t have paid subscribers, they need to generate revenue from advertising. Sometimes this involves selling customers’ data, though more often it takes the form of in-app adverts.
Free VPNs tend not to have the resources to maintain a decent server-to-user ratio. The result is congestion and a loss of speed. A typical free VPN will reduce your connection speed by more than half. Why not check out my best cheap VPN alternatives.
VPNs for Apple TV FAQ
Is it illegal to use a VPN with Apple TV?
No, it is not illegal to use a VPN with Apple TV. The streaming services you access via Apple TV might state that using a proxy to view content outside of your registered region violates their terms of service, but this is highly unlikely to have any negative consequences. For the most part, streaming services seem to target VPN infrastructure rather than individual users.
What can I watch with Apple TV?
Apple TV has more than 50 streaming possibilities, with content from the likes of:
- HBO Go
- Hulu Plus
- ABC News
Will a VPN work with all generations of Apple TV?
If you’ve correctly installed a VPN on your router, then everything on your network will be protected – that includes connections to all incarnations of Apple TV: Apple TV 4K, Apple TV HD, Apple TV 3rd Gen., Apple TV 2nd Gen., and Apple TV 1st Gen.
Can a VPN help with ISP throttling when using Apple TV?
It depends why your ISP is limiting your bandwidth. If it’s because you’ve exceeded your contracted data allowance, then no. If it’s because ISP is limiting the numbers connected to certain streaming sites, then yes.
A VPN encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a chosen location. Using a VPN means your ISP has no idea which sites you’re visiting, so cannot throttle you for streaming content from, for example, Netflix.
All of the recommended VPNs have unlimited bandwidth, so you can stream Apple TV content for as long as you want. They are also fast enough to stream HD and 4K content, so you won’t have to waste time waiting around for content to load.
- Best VPNs for Apple TV
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. IPVanish
- 5. PrivateVPN
- 6. VyprVPN
- 7. Private Internet Access
- How I found the best VPN for Apple TV: my methodology
- How to use NordVPN with Apple TV
- How to access Apple TV content using smartDNS
- Can I use a free VPN for Apple TV?
- VPNs for Apple TV FAQ
- Is it illegal to use a VPN with Apple TV?
- What can I watch with Apple TV?
- Will a VPN work with all generations of Apple TV?
- Can a VPN help with ISP throttling when using Apple TV?