Being locked into the Apple ecosystem can be both a blessing and a curse. While it can make flitting from one device to another ridiculously smooth (not to mention it feels like a bit of a flex in itself), it sometimes can leave you limited in compatibility with certain software. Where installing a VPN on Fire Stick is fairly easy, Apple gatekeeps the kind of software you can download on its Apple TV, limited namely to streaming services.
Thankfully there is a way to get the best VPN installed onto your Apple TV and enjoy watching otherwise geo-restricted content no matter where you are. That means TV shows, movies, and even live sports coverage from services like BBC iPlayer which is only available in the UK, and foreign Netflix catalogs with different exclusive titles.
Depending on how you choose to install access your Apple TV VPN, you can also benefit from the software's excellent security credentials, including encrypting your connection and utilizing features like a dedicated kill switch.
While there are many fantastic VPNs that we recommend, not all of them are compatible with an Apple TV. In this guide, not only do we deliver to you the 5 best Apple TV VPN providers, but explain how to install and use one on your device through two avenues: installing your VPN on a router, or unblocking streaming services via SmartDNS.
Today's best 3 Apple TV VPN providers:
1. ExpressVPN - the #1 best Apple TV VPN (opens in new tab)
ExpressVPN - our favorite VPN overall as well - is fantastic at unblocking geo-restrictions on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney Plus, and many more. It's really easy to set up and use on Apple TV and it comes with a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee and three months extra free.
2. NordVPN - superb mix of streaming and security (opens in new tab)
NordVPN holds a fantastic reputation - and for good reason. It's prolific in the streaming services it can unlock and has extra security perks, too. Set up via SmartDNS or through your router to supercharge your Apple TV.
3. Surfshark - one of the cheapest VPNs available (opens in new tab)
Look no further than Surfshark if you want to grab a fully-functioned Apple TV VPN and an absolute bargain. it's a fantastic, premium option that's unbelievably simple to use and has become a TechRadar favorite. It offers most of the same features as the other top services, just for less money.
What you should look for in an Apple TV VPN?
Outside of a VPN that can unblock your favorite services, demonstrates a fast performance, and comes loaded with some of the best security features, there's one important aspect when choosing an Apple TV VPN you need to check first. And that is being able to install it onto your device in the first place.
While downloading an app onto, say, your Mac, iPhone, or iPad is pretty straight-forward, to get the full power and security of a VPN, you'll need to set up a router VPN, or create a virtual router connection. While we always recommend making use of a VPNs security capabilities, the slightly less fiddly method is finding a VPN that offers SmartDNS. We explain more about this below.
As mentioned, once you've found a VPN that offers some form of compatibility with your Apple TV model, you also want one ticks the boxes of high-speed servers (this will allow you to stream comfortably in 4K without buffering or degrading of picture).
Depending on your streaming service of choice (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, etc.) you'll want to check that the VPN enables you to unblock its feeds when outside of the country. We put all the most popular services to the test. The VPN should also be affordable and uncompromising on security.
Because VPNs can be a little tricky to get set up on an Apple TV unit, you're also looking for a service that has brilliant customer support at hand - either in the form of online support articles or via helpful 24/7 live chat - just in case you run into difficulties.
The best Apple TV VPNs 2023:(opens in new tab)
ExpressVPN takes the crown as the best Apple TV VPN, providing an array of impressive features that will improve your streaming experience.(opens in new tab)
One of the best things about ExpressVPN for Apple TV is that it has been developed with 4K HDR streaming in mind, so you can expect fast speeds and a great overall performance. It doesn’t compromise on choice, offering over 3,000 servers across 94 countries.
ExpressVPN provides access to a range of geo-restricted apps and streaming servers, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and YouTube. It adds ITV Hub, All 4, 9Now, and 10Play to its list in our recent tests. It can also unblock Netflix, accessing libraries around the world, though we have found NordVPN to be more consistent with this. Express is compatible with Apple TV 4K, 4th gen Apple TV, 3rd gen Apple TV, 2nd gen Apple TV and 1st gen Apple TV.
There are two methods of using ExpressVPN on your Apple TV. You can either use Express's own MediaStreamer or install the software on your Wi-Fi router. The latter will enable you to benefit from all of ExpressVPN’s features, and even gets around one of the few negatives of the service - the fact it's 'only' compatible with five devices at any one time.
Also among the features are an integrated kill switch, zero-knowledge DNS (its own encrypted DNS for all servers), an audited no-logs policy, 256-bit encryption, a built-in speed test and unlimited bandwidth.
Get the #1 VPN for Apple TV risk-free (opens in new tab)
You can probably tell by now that we're big fans of ExpressVPN, but we're also extremely fond of its no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee and the special offers it has on show. Sign up for a year now and you'll get an extra 3 months absolutely FREE as well as secure cloud storage from Backblaze.
NordVPN regularly makes its way on to our round ups of the top VPNs for various functions, and things aren’t any different when it comes to VPN for Apple TV. You’re getting a best-in-class provider that is easy to use and offers a great overall performance.
With NordVPN, you can unblock Hulu, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and many other streaming services. It's also currently one of the strongest Netflix VPN providers, able to access libraries in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan in our recent round of testing. That's in part thanks to its network of more than 5,200+ servers in 59 countries.
It's also worth noting NordVPN is one of the fastest VPN around. While not at the top of the list like it once was, it still impresses with highs of 820Mbps, not a far cry from the real peaks of these results with Surfshark and TorGuard securing 950Mbps speeds. But why does it matter? Well, where an Apple VPN is concerned, this kind of performance is ideal if you're looking to stream with a consistent and reliable connection that'll bid farewell to any buffering woes.
One of our favorite features is Double VPN, which encrypts your internet traffic via two servers and means you don’t have to worry about privacy. Handy to know if, for example, you're using your Apple TV over hotel Wi-Fi and want to be sure that your internet traffic is safe.
It also has SmartDNS for the set up, or users can install software on their router. And NordVPN too offers a how-to guide and 24/7 support that should help you get set up without too many issues.
There's not too many gripes to speak of when it comes to Nord, although we personally think its mobile apps could do with a bit of a redesign. Of course, that won't bother you if all you really want your VPN for is to use with Apple TV.
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Surfshark is another popular VPN service that offers some great features and can be used with Apple TV. What’s great is that you can get it up and running through a few easy steps thanks to its SmartDNS feature - much like the providers above.
Once set up, you’ll be able to access Netflix libraries around the world, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and a whole host of other streaming services via your Apple TV device. There’s a choice of over 3,200 servers in 100 countries across the world, and to make things easier and quicker, you can connect to the fastest available server with exceptional peaks at 950Mbps.
If you want to do more than just access TV streaming services, you can install Surfshark on your router. It boasts some great security and privacy features, such as a kill switch, DNS leak protection, 256-bit encryption, a no-logs policy, and protection against malware, web trackers and intrusive adverts.
Compared to other VPN services, Surfshark is set apart by the amount of value it offers and it's right up there on our cheap VPN guide. For less than $2.50 per month, you can connect as many devices as you like. Should you run into any issues, there is 24/7 support and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
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If you’re looking for a top-notch VPN service that gives you access to an insanely huge amount of servers, look no further than CyberGhost. Available for Apple TV, it allows you to connect to more than 9,200 servers in 91 countries.
Thanks to such a large network of servers, you won’t have an issue accessing geo-restricted content on Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Peacock, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services (wherever you are in the world).
CyberGhost claims its servers provide 'speed you need for the smoothest viewing experience', which is a definite if you own an Apple TV, and helps prevent buffering, bandwidth throttling and network limitations. While not quite the market-leading powerhouse it was before, CyberGhost still boasts impressive speeds, hitting peaks of 730Mbps this time around.
The best and quickest way to set it up on Apple TV is through DNS, but there is the option to get your router connected, too.
Other features include AES 256-bit encryption, a built-in kill switch, DNS and IP leak protection, a choice of OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard protocols, and the ability to connect up to seven devices. There’s also 24/7 customer support and an impressive 45-day money-back guarantee.
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Thanks to Private Internet Access' Smart DNS, this is a great choice if you're looking to get an Apple TV VPN. Partnered with its excellent support site brimming with guides, all you'll need to do is fully the step-by-step to setting it up and you'll be away. With PIA, there's also the option of accessing it on your Apple TV by setting it up via a virtual router.
Aside from sheer compatibility, it does a decent job of unblocking top streaming services, such as Prime Video and Disney Plus. We were also able to gain access to the Netflix libraries around the world, and this time it regained access to BBC iPlayer with its UK servers.
Beyond streaming through your Apple TV, PIA comes loaded with features that'll better secure a range of devices, with the option to use it simultaneously across up to 10 devices. We really rate its kill switch, as well as its powerful apps across Android, iOS, and the like.
In terms of speed, it's certainly dropped a touch behind the others on this list, though it still sits comfortably within average. Hitting averages of 510Mbps, this is more than enough to stream confidently.
Apple TV VPN FAQ
How do I use a VPN on Apple TV?
Sadly - unlike, say, using a VPN for Amazon Fire TV - there isn’t a silver bullet solution when it comes to using an Apple TV VPN. That's because you can’t simply download and log into a dedicated app to make things easier.
But you can still use a VPN on your Apple TV, and there are two main ways to do this as explained in our dedicated guide on how to set up and use a VPN on Apple TV.
TL:DR? Well, the first method is to set up the VPN on your router and then use this connection on your Apple TV. Your chosen provider will offer detailed instructions on how to do this. It’s quite a fiddly undertaking, although you’ll be able to experience all the features of the VPN service on your Apple TV.
The other way is by using a SmartDNS, which will enable you to bypass geo-restrictions and access all the content you want on your Apple TV - so be sure to grab a VPN provider that boasts that function. To do this, you’ll need to head to “network” within the settings of your Apple TV, go to “Wi-Fi” and click on your connection.
You’ll then see an option for “Configure DNS” - press that and change the setting to “manual” instead of "automatic”. Finally, to get your VPN up and running, add its IP address and you’re good to go.
Again, your provider will provide comprehensive instructions and support on how to do this. For example, our #1 choice ExpressVPN offers a really clear written and video guide (opens in new tab) on getting the VPN working for Apple TV.
Does an Apple TV device support VPN?
Apple TV boxes don't support VPN in the traditional sense. Unlike with a Mac VPN or iPhone VPN, it isn't a simple matter of installing an application straight onto your device. Instead you'll need to select a VPN provider that either offers a Smart DNS in its roster of features, or a router VPN app. ExpressVPN offers both options for Apple TV users (opens in new tab).
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