We take a look at some of the best VPNs for Apple TV and how to use an Apple TV VPN on a router.
Whether you want on-demand video or live TV streams, you can’t go wrong with an Apple TV. But content varies widely from country to country, and in some places, you might not be able to use Apple TV at all. If you take your Apple TV out of the country where your iTunes account and payment method are registered, you could quickly run into geographic restrictions on the content you’re allowed to access.
You can unblock geo-locked content on Apple TV with a VPN. Short for virtual private network, a VPN service encrypts all of a device’s internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of the user’s choosing. Unfortunately, Apple TV doesn’t support VPN software, but you can install the VPN on the wifi router that the Apple TV is connected to. More on that below.
We’ve curated a list of the best VPNs for Apple TV 4, 3, and 1 based on the following criteria:
- Servers located in most countries where Apple TV is supported
- High speed and unlimited bandwidth for HD and 4K streams
- Quick and competent customer support if you need help with setup
- Bonus if a pre-flashed VPN router is available for purchase
VPN for Apple TV Free
We advise all our users to stay away from free VPN services, as they are not trustworthy and may charge you for their product in exchange for private information, sold 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? Nevertheless, if you still want to sign up with a free VPN (at your own risk), then here are some noteworthy options.
Centered in Malaysia, Hide.me offers both a premium and free model to meet the needs of all users. There is no doubt that the service provides brilliant performance and superb privacy online, but there is no uptime guarantee available. The free model gives you only 2GB data usage, a restricted choice of protocols, and allows only one connection at a time with a “best-effort” bandwidth imposed.
This means, you receive minimum speeds of 3Mbit/sec for streaming, downloading, and exploring. However, if you just need something to unblock websites on your Apple TV, then Hide.me is not a bad choice. The VPN service offers detailed setup guides on setting their client upon DD-WRT routers for providing VPN-protection on Apple TVs.
- App Designed For Simplicity
- 24/7 Live Chat Assistance
- DD-WRT VPN Setup for Apple TV
- Access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Servers in 28 Countries
- 3 Locations in Free Plan
- 2GB Data Cap on Free
Based in the US, Hotspot Shield has been in the market for quite some time, losing its fame as competitors took over. However, it is a great FREE choice for those users, who want to a VPN for unblocking websites on their Apple TVs. The provider similar to above options offers customized guides on setting up the client on Apple TV by using the router or creating a hotspot from a laptop/phone. The only problem is that you have a limited 750 MB data limit per day.
- Router VPN Setup for Apple TV
- No DNS Leaks Detected
- Automatic Kill Switch
- Split Tunneling Available
- 750MB Daily Allowance
How to Install VPN on Apple TV – Smart DNS Proxy Alternative Method
- 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
How to Setup Apple TV VPN without Router (Using AirPlay)
Setting up your Apple TV VPN without a router is not only easier but faster. Thanks to Apple embedding the AirPlay Mirror option in their iOS and Mac OSx devices, playing your favorite media has never been easier. To setup your VPN on Apple TV without the router, here is what to do:
- Install the VPN app for your device i.e. iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod)or Mac OSx (Mac desktop,MacBook)
- Connect your VPN to the region you wish to unblock apps from e.g. US server for Netflix & HBO or UK Server for BBC iPlayer
- Make sure both your device and the Apple TV are connected to the same WI-FI network
- In case of iOS devices make sure you have the relevant streaming apps on your device rather than installing them on the Apple TV
- Turn on your AirPlay feature by going to your Apple TV Settings>AirPlay>ON
- Once the VPN is connected:
- Mac OSx users should simply logon to the websites they wish to stream, then click the AirPlay icon in the Menu Bar
- iOS users should swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access the Control Center, then tap AirPlay. Launch the app you want to mirror e.g. Netflix
- See your screen mirrored on the TV screen.
ExpressVPN tops our list of recommended providers for several reasons. First off, it’s proven time and again that it can unblock pretty much anything. That includes US and UK Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, and HBO Now/Go. Simply ask the 24/7 live chat support which VPN server to connect to for your preferred streaming channel. Over 1,500 servers are littered across 94 countries. ExpressVPN sets the gold standard for both speed and security. It always scores well in our speed tests and only uses the strongest encryption parameters, including perfect forward secrecy.
The provider sets the bar even higher by allowing its subscribers to utilize its smart DNS proxy service with or without connecting to a VPN. Called MediaStreamer, this service allows you to send DNS requests through a proxy service and unblock geo-locked content without actually connecting to a VPN. This is especially useful for Apple TV owners because the device does support changing the default DNS settings. More on how to set this up below.
If MediaStreamer isn’t enough and you want a full VPN to use with your Apple TV, ExpressVPN also makes its own custom router firmware. If you’ve got a compatible router, you can flash the firmware for free. Or you can purchase a pre-flashed router directly from ExpressVPN. The router firmware is already set up to be used with any ExpressVPN server, and it’s far simpler to operate than the competing DD-WRT and Tomato-based firmware.
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If it’s value you want, look no further than NordVPN. The provider has a strong track record of unblocking Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now and Go, Sling TV, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer among many others. Just consult the online knowledge base to find out which servers work for which channels. You’ll get a whopping six simultaneous devices on a single subscription. Over 50 countries are available to connect to, and each server is guarded by strong encryption.
NordVPN features an encrypted DNS proxy tool called SmartPlay, which assists in unblocking geo-locked content. Smart Play can be used separately from the main VPN service but does require using the VPN app, meaning it can’t be configured by itself on a router. You’ll still need to go through the full VPN setup on a router, instead.
NordVPN sells pre-flashed DD-WRT routers that come pre-configured with all the servers you’ll need to unblock content on your Apple TV. The NordVPN knowledge base also has several detailed tutorials on how to manually set up an existing VPN-compatible router.
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IPVanish offers sturdy and fast connections to its owned and operated network of 850 servers spread across more than 60 countries. While it’s not as adept when it comes to unblocking the big American streaming channels like Netflix and Hulu, we do give it a resounding endorsement for Kodi users. A favorite among the Kodi community, IPVanish will work with any Kodi add-on you can throw at it. Check out our tutorial on how to install Kodi on Apple TV to get started.
IPVanish allows five simultaneous connections, uses military grade encryption, and keeps zero logs of user activity. It uses private DNS servers and has DNS leak protection built in.
If you prefer a router, IPVanish has detailed instructions on how to set up VPNs on common router firmware on its website. If your router isn’t compatible or you’re just not confident in your networking abilities, IPVanish sells pre-flashed DD-WRT routers that come with everything you need already in place.
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VyprVPN is a veteran provider that has beaten the geographic restrictions on content from Netflix, Hulu, and other popular streaming channels. It’s also a solid option for users in China who need to bypass the Great Firewall. The VPN is not only agile, it’s also a strong performer, featuring high-end encryption and fast download speeds. Our only complaint is that VyprVPN does log your real IP address for 30 days.
The company operates VyprDNS, it’s own private and encrypted DNS service, which assists in unblocking and keeping your browsing habits safe. Unfortunately, subscribers can’t use VyprDNS separately from VyprVPN.
A custom app is available for routers running Tomato firmware. If you’re a DD-WRT user, check out the website for instructions on how to set up OpenVPN. Or if you want to skip the hassle, try one of the pre-flashed routers for sale on Flashrouters.
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PrivateVPN is looking to make a name for itself in the crowded VPN market by offering a fast service that can unblock US Netflix and a wide array of other streaming channels. The server selection is a bit more limited than others on this list, but it more than makes up for that in other ways. Connect up to six devices at the same time on a single account, and enjoy top-of-the-line encryption whenever you connect. PrivateVPN does not log any information about how customers use its service.
PrivateVPN’s website posts tutorials on how to configure the service on a Tomato or DD-WRT router. The company recently switched over to using its own private DNS servers instead of public ones, which is a marked improvement, but they can’t be used separately from the VPN service.
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Apple TV countries
Apple TV offers the most features and functionality to US users by far. The search function, for instance, will scan over 60 content providers in the US. When in Australia, a distant second, it only scans 10. Siri is also limited to the following countries and languages:
- Australia (English)
- Canada (English, French)
- Germany (German)
- France (French)
- Mexico (Spanish)
- Netherlands (Dutch)
- Norway (Norwegian Bokmål)
- Japan (Japanese)
- Spain (Spanish)
- Sweden (Swedish)
- UK (English)
- US (English, Spanish)
You can find out what apps, features, and content providers are available in your country on the official Apple website.
“4th generation Apple TV” by Rayukk licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0