5 best VPNs for Apple TV in 2021
Apple TV allows you to enjoy a wide range of movies and TV shows. However, most of the accessible streaming services offer varied content in different regions. That means you may be getting the short end of the stick in your country.
The best way to maximize your Apple TV+ subscription and get the most out of your Apple TV is using a VPN. It will help you evade censorship and geographic restrictions to watch anything you want from anywhere. Unfortunately, Apple TV does not support VPNs, but there are other solutions like Smart DNS and router installation.
Read on to get the best VPNs for Apple TV, how to set up a VPN, factors to consider when choosing Apple TV VPN, and much more.
Top Apple TV VPNs – The quick list
We’ll give detailed information on each VPN provider, but here is the shortlist, the quick overviews, of the best VPNs for Apple TV if you are in rush:
- NordVPN – Our top recommendation for Apple TV. It boasts blazing-fast speeds, solid security, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark – It comes with excellent security and privacy features, unblocks various streaming services, and allows unlimited connections.
- ExpressVPN – Provides high-speed servers, remarkable unblocking capability, and a strong security offering.
- Private Internet Access (PIA) – Offers massive server network, robust encryption, unlimited bandwidth, and effective ad blocker.
- VyprVPN – The cheapest VPN for Apple TV on this list. It leads with robust security, SmartDNS proxy, and chameleon technology.
How to unblock geo-blocked content on Apple TV
The simplest way to bypass geographic restrictions and access whatever you want is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It is an incredible tool that will encrypt your traffic and route it through an intermediary server of your choice. As a result, you can be living in the UK and connect to a US server and watch any blocked content.
Unfortunately, Apple TV does not support VPNs directly. However, you can install a VPN on your router and connect through WiFi. We’ll discuss more on this later in the article.
What makes a VPN best for Apple TV?
All VPNs are not made the same, where some are reliable, and others are not. So, here are the things you should consider if you want a dependable VPN for Apple TV.
Compatible with routers
As mentioned above, Apple TVs don’t work with VPNs, and that’s why you need an alternative way to get a connection. One of the viable options is to install the VPN software on your router. However, this option may be a bit difficult, especially if it’s your first time.
As a result, you should go for a VPN with an easy-to-follow installation guide on how to do it. With a reliable VPN service like NordVPN, you should complete the process in a few minutes. However, you first need to check whether the router is compatible with the VPN.
Another crucial feature to look out for is the SmartDNS. It is an ingenious technology that will help you access geo-blocked content on Apple TV without even connecting to a VPN. However, you won’t get the benefits of a VPN like encryption, but it is an excellent solution for hassle-free streaming. Also, you will get better speed since there isn’t a VPN acting as an intermediary.
Streaming is a data-intensive activity, so you need to get a high-speed VPN. However, since a VPN adds an intermediary connection, your speed will suffer a bit. Fortunately, some providers such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN use the latest technology and quality servers to mitigate the effects. With sufficient speed, you will be able to stream in HD without buffering.
Some VPNs cannot evade restrictions put in place by steaming services. That is why you need to choose a VPN with the strong unblocking capability to watch content on popular sites like Netflix. Notably, a good VPN should have servers spread across the world — it will enable you to stream content in other regions.
Security and privacy
Besides unblocking content, a VPN is also an excellent way to maintain your online security and privacy. It will prevent your ISP and other third parties from snooping by hiding your IP address and encrypting your traffic. Some of the features to look out for are AES 256-bit encryption, kill switch, Double VPN, DNS leak protection, and no-logs policy.
Even the best service can face hiccups. Therefore, you need to choose a VPN with excellent customer support. At least, it should have a 24/7 live chat, phone, or email to contact the company if you face an issue.
Try the top VPN risk-free
NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee that enables you to try the VPN service risk-free. Fortunately, this allows you to access all the features without limitation for a whole month. Also, the terms and conditions are straightforward. If it doesn’t meet your needs, you can contact customer support within 30 days to ask for a no-questions-asked refund.
Best VPNs for Apple TV – The detailed
There are thousands of VPN services on the market, and choosing the right one for your Apple TV can be a challenge. So, to compile the list below, we rigorously tested dozens of providers against several aspects, including features, ease of use, price, tech support, etc.
- 5147 servers in 60 countries
- Unlimited bandwidth and data
- SmartDNS proxy
- AES encryption
- NordLynx protocol
- 30-day money-back guarantee
NordVPN is our top choice best VPN for Apple TV. It is packed with all the features you need for streaming, including fast-speed servers, impressive unblocking capability, etc.
First of all, it runs a network of more than 5,147 servers in over 60 countries. Most of the servers produce sufficient speed to stream content on Apple TV in 4K without buffering. This is made even better with unlimited bandwidth and data.
NordVPN is compatible with a wide variety of routers. This is a great way to connect your Apple TV since it doesn’t support VPNs. In addition, it has apps for Windows and macOS, which you can use to share the WiFi connection with your Apple TV. Furthermore, it offers a SmartDNS feature to assist you in unblocking geo-blocked content.
The provider also sells pre-flashed DD-WRT routers if your router’s firmware doesn’t support VPNs. Fortunately, these routers are installed with all NordVPN’s servers to help you unblock the content you want on Apple TV.
- Works perfectly well with Apple TV
- Vast server network
- Blazing fast servers
- The double encryption will slow your speed
- 3200 servers in 65 countries
- AES 256-bit encryption
- Unlimited data and bandwidth
- No-logs policy
- 30-Day money-back guarantee
Surfshark is your best bet if you want to stream on Apple TV safely. This is because it uses multiple security features such as AES 256-bit encryption, kill switch, and DNS leak protection to secure your connections.
The provider has a modest network with over 3,200 servers in more than 65 countries. This will help you to easily bypass geographic restrictions and access content from around the world. In addition, like NordVPN, most of the servers are super-fast, enabling you to stream content in high definition.
Surfshark allows you to set it up on your router if its firmware supports OpenVPN or L2TP protocols. If it doesn’t work, you can install new firmware, and the VPN provides installation guides on its website. However, you have to proceed with caution as this complicated process can damage your router. Alternatively, you can install the Windows or macOS apps and connect your Apple TV through WiFi. Also, it has Smart DNS that will help you unblock geo-blocked content without a VPN.
The Surfshark’s CleanWeb feature will prevent annoying ads, so you can have a smooth streaming experience. In addition, it is also designed to stop malicious trackers and malware that can potentially infect your Apple TV device.
- Standalone smart DNS proxy
- Unblocks all popular streaming sites
- Tons of security features
- Occasionally slow on some servers
- 3000 servers in 94 countries
- AES 256-bit encryption
- Kill switch
- Lightway protocol
- Private DNS
- 30-day money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN is another dependable VPN for safe Apple TV streaming. It is easy to set up and offers excellent unblocking power and speed.
It has a massive network of over 3,000 servers in 94 countries. Besides worldwide coverage, the provider has multiple servers in each country. For example, it has servers in more than 14 US cities. As a result, you will find a server closer to your location for a faster and stable connection.
The VPN has a native app for a wide variety of router models alongside manual installation guides on the website. Installing it on your router will allow you to connect the Apple TV to unblock the streaming services you want. Also, ExpressVPN has MediaStreamer (Smart DNS), so you can connect the VPN to your Apple TV device.
ExpressVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption to safeguard your private information from unauthorized third parties. In addition, its automatic kill switch will prevent your traffic from routing outside the protected tunnel even when the VPN stops working.
- Works well with Apple TV
- Fast and consistent speed
- Robust security and privacy
- Slightly pricier
4. Private Internet Access (PIA)
- 29,650 servers in 70 countries
- Kill switch
- No-logs policy
- AES 128/256 –bit encryption
- MACE ad blocker
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a secure VPN to use on Apple TV. It has the biggest network on this list, with over 29,650 servers in more than 70 countries. The benefit of an extensive network such as this one is that you will get better speed as congestion is minimal.
The VPN is compatible with many routers, especially those that have Tomato, DD-WRT, and pfSense firmware. Remarkably, the provider offers in-depth manual installation tutorials to guide you through the process.
PIA lets you customize your security the way you want. For example, the default setting has AES 128-bit encryption, but you can change it to 256-bit encryption. Both options are highly secure, but AES 128-bit is more lightweight, which translates to better speeds.
- Affordable packages
- Extensive server network
- Fast speed for streaming
- Based in the US
- 700 servers in 70 countries
- No-logs policy
- Automatic kill switch
- NAT firewall
- Chameleon technology
- AES 256-bit encryption
- 30-day money-back guarantee
VyprVPN is a great value Apple TV VPN based in privacy-friendly Switzerland. It offers affordable plans and comes with an impressive list of useful features.
The network has around 700 servers in 70 countries, which is relatively small compared to competitors like NordVPN. However, the servers are powerful as I could unblock popular streaming services such Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and DAZN.
VyprVPN’s speed is enough to watch Apple TV content in HD quality. The WireGuard protocol improves the speed even further as it has a slimmer codebase.
What’s more, you can set up the VPN on your router, and the provider offers step-by-step guides on its website. There is also an L2TP protocol that allows you to share a VPN connection from a Mac, another excellent way to connect your Apple TV.
It is illegal to use a VPN in some countries such as China and Russia. However, VyprVPN has chameleon technology that will make your VPN traffic look like regular internet traffic to evade censorship.
- Affordable packages
- Router installation guides
- Unblocks popular streaming sites
- Small server network
VPNs you shouldn’t use with Apple TV
When researching this article, I came across multiple VPNs with questionable services, and I recommend you avoid them. They include:
Hola advertises as a VPN, yet it’s not. Instead, this is a peer-to-peer (P2P) service that powers its network with the idle bandwidth of its users. So, rather than being connected to a server, it will connect you to other users’ computers. Similarly, other users will also connect to your PC and use your data. This is an atrocious violation of your privacy and security.
In addition, the company has exploited its users in the past. For example, it hijacked every device on the network and created a gigantic botnet to carry out distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on websites.
VPNBook markets itself as a free VPN service that provides OpenVPN configuration for its server network. However, the company is dodgy about privacy, which is a huge red flag. In fact, the Anonymous hacking group accuses it of collaborating with law enforcement.
3. Opera Free VPN
Recently, Opera Browser launched a new ‘free unlimited VPN’ feature. However, it’s not a VPN, but a web proxy used to collect and share data with third parties.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) acquired user information from PureVPN service to pursue and arrest an alleged stalker. However, this is despite the company claiming to keep a no-logs policy. It seems that the provider keeps enough information to identify a user.
VPNSecure is based in Australia, which is part of the 5/9/14 Eye Alliance. Also, a research paper found out that the service has DNS and IP leaks and uses the ‘egress points’ on users. This is the same concept that sank Hola VPN. So, that is why you should probably stay away if you mind about your privacy.
How to set up Apple TV VPN
Because it is impossible to install a VPN on Apple TV, you need to connect through your router’s WiFi network. However, how to do it depends on the firmware and your expertise. There are three main options available: a physical router, a virtual router, and a proxy.
1. Installing a VPN on a physical router
Not all routers are compatible with routers. Open your web browser, type 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1, and enter your user credentials to log into your router’s dashboard. Consult your router manual, ISP, or Google to get your router model’s default username and password if it is not available online.
After signing in, navigate through the dashboard to find a way to set up a VPN connection. If your router does not provide a way to do it, you can replace the firmware with an open-source option that supports VPNs. Some of the reliable alternatives include Tomato and DD-WRT.
Caution: It is recommended to install the correct version of the substitute firmware that is well-matched with your router. This is because you could potentially damage your router if you do it wrongly or with incompatible firmware.
So, if you still need to preserve your router or it isn’t compatible with DD-WRT or tomato, you should consider replacing it. For example, a pre-flashed router from your VPN provider is a good option as it comes with all the servers. Some of the reliable services that sell pre-configured routers include ExpressVPN, IPvanish, and NordVPN.
2. Installing a VPN on a virtual router
Although you’ll need a spare laptop, setting up a VPN on a virtual router is less complicated than on a physical router. It will use your laptop’s hardware to create a hotspot that you can use to connect your Apple TV. The advantage is that your connection will still be protected.
3. DNS proxy
Another way you can use a VPN on Apple TV to bypass geo-restrictions is with a DNS proxy or smart DNS. Although you will not get online privacy and security, it is a great way to unblock streaming websites.
Domain name system (DNS) translates domain names of websites and apps into server IP addresses. For example, when you open a web page, a DNS request will be sent to a DNS server to find the fitting IP address for the server hosting the website. Usually, DNS requests pass through your ISP’s servers in your home country. Also, many streaming sites check where the DNS requests are originating to identify your location.
Forcing the Apple TV’s DNS request to route through a server in a different country can unblock the content you want. Although this method won’t reduce your speed, it isn’t as foolproof and private as a VPN service.
Apple TV has inbuilt support for hard coding DNS servers. Moreover, ExpressVPN offers MediaStreamer features, and NordVPN has SmartDNS that allows you to use the DNS servers separately from the VPN.
How to set DNS servers on Apple TV 4 and later
- Go to the main menu and click Settings>Network
- Locate your current network. Choose Configure DNS > Manual
- Input the DNS address from SmartDNS, MediaStreamer, or any other DNS provider. It is just a set of numbers and decimals
- Click Done
- Restart your Apple TV
It is a simple process, and you will be done within a few minutes. However, this works well for providers that use content delivery networks (CDNs), and its success will rely on your DNS provider. NordVPN’s SmartDNS is one of the best options, but you will have to pay more on top of your subscription.
Setting up Smart DNS proxy on Apple TV’s 3rd generation and older
Setting up a smart DNS proxy on older Apple TV models is a bit different from newer models. First of all, you need to alter the location settings
- Navigate to Settings > iTunes Store > Location
- Select whichever country where you want to unblock content
After doing this, next is to set up the DNS servers
- Go to Settings >General> Network
- Choose your current network interface: Ethernet or WiFi
- Select Configure DNS > Manual
- Input the SmartDNS and MediaStreamer DNS address
- Confirm with Done
- Restart your Apple TV. Go to Settings > General > Restart
Note that the procedure to register your device’s IP address will depend on the smart DNS proxy service you are using. Fortunately, the setup process is not difficult, and most VPN providers provide easy-to-follow instructions.
Kodi on Apple TV
Installing Kodi on Apple 2, 3, and 4 is possible. Although setting up the free and open-source media center requires some work, you can easily do it. In fact, we even have a tutorial on how you can install different Kodi Addons.
We highly advise you to use a VPN when running Kodi on Apple TV or any other device. Besides protecting your connection, it will prevent your ISP from monitoring your activities and throttling your bandwidth.
Apple TV countries
Most Apple TV features and functionality are available in the US to a great extent. For example, the search function will show about 100 content providers in the US. However, Canada comes a distant second with around 36 scan results.
These are the countries where Apple TV+ is available. Note that the content provided may vary from country to country.
Argentina, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Austria, Bahrain, Bahamas, Belarus, Belize, Belgium, Bermuda, Botswana, Bolivia, Brazil, Botswana, British Virgin Island, Brazil, Cambodia, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Canada, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Dominica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eswatini, Estonia, France, Finland, Fiji, Germany, Gambia, Grenada, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala Honduras, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Hong Kong, Honduras, Indonesia, India, Ireland, Luxembourg, Lebanon, Latvia, Jordan, Laos, Japan, Israel, Italy, Moldova, Micronesia, Macau, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Malta, Namibia, Mozambique, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Niger, Oman, Norway, Panama, Peru, Paraguay, Philippines, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Qatar, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Spain, Sweden St. Kitts and Nevis, Tajikistan, Taiwan, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Uganda, USA, UK, UAE, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and Venezuela.
Moreover, you can also use Siri in the following countries and languages:
- Germany (German)
- Australia (English)
- Canada (English and French)
- Austria (German)
- Brazil (Portuguese)
- France (French)
- Japan (Japanese)
- Netherlands (Dutch)
- Mexico (Spanish)
- Ireland (English)
- Sweden (Swedish)
- UK (English)
- US (English and Spanish)
- Spain (Spanish)
- Norway (Norwegian Bokmal)
- New Zealand (English)
Go to the official Apple website to find out what features, apps, and content providers are available in your country.
Benefits of using a VPN on Apple
A VPN is a great tool that does two things primarily:
- First, it uses robust encryption to protect your digital privacy. By masking your IP address and encrypting your traffic, nobody can snoop on your activities or steal your data. For this and more, you can check out our comprehensive privacy guide.
- Secondly, a VPN allows you to bypass geographic restrictions by pretending to be a different country. As a result, you can access anything you want, even what isn’t available in your region. For instance, you can get a British IP address with a VPN for Apple TV to stream BBC iPlayer. This is free within the UK but not available overseas.
What is the best free VPN for Apple TV?
There are some dependable free VPNs, but they cap data and restrict speed, which is unsuitable for streaming. Instead, choose a VPN that does not limit speed or bandwidth to watch Apple TV content smoothly without buffering.
Also, we do not recommend free VPNs because they come with a lot of risks. For example, some of them have been caught stealing and selling users’ information to third parties. In addition, they don’t have the resources to invest in solid security, so your connections and data will be exposed.
Instead of going for free VPNs, there are several cheap VPN services you can choose from. They have premium features and offer affordable packages you can get without breaking a bank. Fortunately, most of them provide either free trials or a money-back guarantee to allow you to test the services for free.
Why do you need a fast VPN to stream on Apple TV?
An Apple TV VPN will cause a slight loss in your speed because of the encryption process. The matter becomes even worse if you connect to a server far away from your location. This is because the data packets have to travel a longer distance. That is why we recommend you to use a nearby server. Fortunately, the VPN services we reviewed above provide incredible server speed, so you won’t notice the speed loss.
Sometimes you will need to connect to a server in another country to spoof your location and access geo-blocked content. Typically, this involves long distances, which can take a toll on your speed. So, you choose a fast VPN to stream content on Apple TV in HD without buffering or lagging issues.
A VPN will enable you to get the best streaming experience on Apple TV. It will help you bypass geo-restrictions to access your favorite content on popular streaming services from anywhere in the world. In addition, you will get multiple security and privacy features to maintain your safety and anonymity.
This means that your ISP and other third parties won’t see what you are doing online. NordVPN is our top recommendation among all the best VPNs for Apple TV listed as it is compatible with many routers, offers a SmartDNS proxy, is fast and secure.
About the author
Tech researcher and writer with a passion for cybersecurity. Alex is a strong advocate of digital freedom and online privacy.