The Apple TV is Apple’s popular entry in the set-top video streaming device category. The device offers the ability to stream video and audio, play games and even order a Papa John’s pizza via your high-definition or 4K TV.
Much of the streaming content available on the Apple TV is geographically restricted. However, there is a way to avoid these virtual content roadblocks.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the best way available to access blocked content, made possible by its ability to make it appear as if a user is located in another country.
A VPN can “spoof” the location of a user by assigning their device a new, temporary IP address. This allows you to access online content that’s blocked in your region.
For example, if you want to view BBC iPlayer content, a VPN can make it appear as if you’re connecting to the service from inside in the U.K.
A VPN also encrypts your internet connection, protecting your online activities from the prying eyes of third parties, such as hackers or your ISP.
When considering VPNs for your Apple TV, the following factors are most important: global server coverage, connection speeds, security and privacy, as well as the availability of pre-configured routers (as there are no native Apple TV apps available from any VPN provider).
Best VPNs for Apple TV
I put all of my favorite VPN providers through rigorous testing, and these 5 VPNs worked best with the Apple TV:
- NordVPN: Top choice! Military-grade encryption protects speedy connections, delivering safe access to your favorite content. Global server coverage is above average, and the provider offers top-notch unblocking power and connection protection.
- Surfshark: Budget VPN. This provider delivers HD-capable, well-protected connections. The provider’s global server network has grown by leaps and bounds. Offers an unlimited simultaneous connection policy. All of this for a bargain multi-year rate.
- ExpressVPN: Provides optimal router support, with firmware for select routers. Extensive global server coverage ensures content access, and the provider’s connection speeds are able to handle streams from any app on the Apple TV.
- CyberGhost: Delivering reliably fast speed, this provider delivers router-optimized protections, excellent global server coverage, and streaming-optimized servers.
- IPVanish: Owns and operates its VPN servers, putting another layer of protection between you and the nosy net nellies. Speedy connections and optimal security protections are the rule here. Also offers unlimited simultaneous connections.
Please keep in mind while reading these mini-reviews that pre-configured routers are important, as no native VPN apps are available for the Apple TV.
This means that users will need to either configure their current router to use a VPN (if it’s compatible) or purchase a pre-configured router.
I evaluated and ranked the top Apple TV VPNs using the following criteria:
- Comprehensive global server coverage
- Fast enough connections for HD and 4K HDR streams
- Top-notch customer support
- Strong privacy and security protections
- Availability of pre-configured VPN routers
Here’s my list of the top 5 VPNs for use with the Apple TV.
NordVPN is my #1 choice for Apple TV VPN protection because of its HD and 4K-capable connections, great customer support and excellent privacy and security coverage.
NordVPN’s global server coverage is definitely above-average, with nearly 5,500 servers stationed in 60 countries. This coverage is sufficient to unblock most of the global content you may have your eye on, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.
NordVPN’s industry-fastest connection speeds are easily up to the speed requirements for HD and 4K content. The provider imposes no bandwidth limitations or data caps on its connections.
The customer is king at NordVPN, with 24/7 support chat, email support, and a searchable knowledge base available.
Privacy and security are also top priority NordVPN, as it provides 256-bit encrypted connections and follows a strict no-logs policy. A Bitcoin payment option rounds out the privacy protections.
The provider lacks a native Apple TV app (as do all of the VPNs on this list), but it does offer native apps for most popular devices (including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, Linux, and Android TV devices), and its comprehensive router compatibility ensures your Apple TV and all your other connected devices will be covered. Pre-configured routers are also available.
Users can also take advantage of NordVPN’s Smart Play DNS service, which provides access to blocked content, but doesn’t include the encryption of the service’s VPN offering.
- Servers in 61 countries around the globe
- HD and 4K-ready connections
- Excellent privacy and security coverage
- Pre-configured router options
- Streaming servers aren’t labeled
BEST VPN FOR APPLE TV:NordVPN is the best option for Apple TV owners who are looking for reliable access and online protection for their Apple TV streaming and gaming. High points include its 4K-ready connections, comprehensive global server coverage, and excellent customer support. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark makes it into the top 5 due to its well-protected connections, excellent content-unblocking abilities and optimal privacy protections, all at a truly attractive price.
3,200+ servers located in over 64 countries around the globe, the provider offers comprehensive global server coverage, providing excellent content-unblocking opportunities for most of the streaming providers with apps on the Apple TV, including Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
Surfshark delivers connection speeds well above the requirements to deliver HD video. Depending on your usual connection speeds, they could be up to 4K streaming.
Customer support consists of 24/7 live support, along with a contact form and a searchable FAQ library, adding up to comprehensive support.
Military-grade encryption keeps your online viewing habits safe from prying eyes. Meanwhile, no one can track a history of your online travels thanks to the service’s “no user logs” policy. You can also use Bitcoin to protect your payment records.
As usual, no app is available for the Apple TV platform, but Surfshark does provide apps for iOS, Android, Android TV, Linux, macOS, Windows, and Amazon Fire TV devices. You can also use Surfshark with numerous brands of routers, and ready-to-go routers are available as well.
The provider also offers a smartDNS feature that gives you access to blocked content, but lacks the encrypted protection offered by the provider’s VPN service.
If you have a large number of other devices in your family, as I do, you’ll be glad to know the provider allows unlimited simultaneous connections on a single set of login credentials.
- Opens access to content in plenty of countries
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Top-notch security and privacy protection
- Fast connection speeds
- Bargain multi-year subscription options
- Connection speeds, while adequate, could be better
BUDGET VPN :Surfshark can still deliver nearly all of the content you’d ever want to your Apple TV. Unlimited simultaneous connections mean not everyone has to watch the same thing. Plus, the provider has a fast-growing global server network. The provider’s subscription prices should prove to be quite attractive to budget-minded users. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of Surfshark.
ExpressVPN provides reliable, if somewhat expensive, all-around VPN protection and enhancement for use with the Apple TV. The provider offers comprehensive global server coverage, fast connections and top-notch customer support.
The provider has stationed over 3,000 VPN servers in 94 countries around the world. This almost guarantees that you’ll have access to the geo-blocked content that you covet, including from such popular streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more.
ExpressVPN provides fast connection speeds, delivering the power to easily keep up with the HD and 4K HDR content offered by services on the Apple TV.
You can binge your favorite television shows thanks to ExpressVPN’s lack of bandwidth restrictions and data caps.
The provider’s comprehensive customer support includes 24/7 live support chat, a searchable support library, email support, and a support ticket tracking system.
ExpressVPN provides military-level encryption for your internet connection. In addition, the service keeps absolutely no logs of your online activities and accepts Bitcoin as payment.
Although no native VPN apps are available for the Apple TV, ExpressVPN does offer native apps for most popular devices (including macOS, iOS, Android, Android TV, Windows, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV devices) and provides instructions for using their service routers.
Pre-configured routers are available if you’d like to skip the whole configuration process.
You can also use ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer DNS service to access blocked content on the Apple TV and other set-top streaming boxes, albeit without the encrypted protection of the service’s VPN coverage.
- Excellent global server coverage
- Connection speeds that can easily handle HD video
- Top-notch security and privacy protection
- Offers pre-configured routers
- More expensive than other providers
- Doesn’t label streaming servers
RELIABLE VPN FOR APPLE TV:ExpressVPN offers reliable VPN service for use with the Apple TV. The provider offers fast connections and wide server coverage, and its router support makes it easy to use their service with the Apple TV. While the provider charges more than other providers on this list, its 30-day money-back guarantee makes trying it a no-risk proposition.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
CyberGhost performed well in this 5-way competition, delivering excellent connection speeds, decent global server coverage and excellent security and privacy protections.
This provider’s global server coverage consists of 6,200+ servers, located in 89+ countries around the world. CyberGhost’s server coverage is comprehensive enough to provide access to plenty of geo-blocked content, such as Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
CyberGhost’s connection speeds are the fastest in this top 5, providing plenty of speed to allow watching your favorite flick in its full 4K HDR glory. No bandwidth or data caps means you can binge to your heart’s content.
CyberGhost’s customer support includes a live support chat option, a searchable support library, and a support ticket system.
Online security will be the least of your worries when you’re connected to CyberGhost’s VPN servers, as the provider protects your connection with military-grade encryption.
Your privacy is well protected when you use this provider, as it follows a strict no-logs policy and accepts Bitcoin to protect your subscription payment information.
As is usual for this lineup, CyberGhost doesn’t offer an Apple TV app, although it does offer apps for the Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Linux, Windows, and Amazon Fire TV device platforms. These apps are easy to use, making the provider a valid option for first-time VPN users.
CyberGhost works well with numerous router makes and models, and pre-configured routers are available.
- Global server coverage offers wide-ranging content access
- Fast connections = smooth 4K streaming
- Pre-configured routers available
- No logs and accepts Bitcoin
- No kill switch protection available for routers
- Not much control over advanced functionality
BEST FOR ROOKIE VPN USERS:CyberGhost is the best choice on this list for Apple TV users that are first-time VPN users will appreciate CyberGhost’s easy-to-use service. Pre-configured routers make CyberGhost an easy way to get connected quickly. 45-day no-risk money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
IPVanish fills out this roundup thanks to above-average connection speeds, excellent router support, top-notch security, and unlimited connection allowance.
IPVanish is the only provider on this list to own and operate their VPN server farms, adding an extra layer of security by ensuring no third-party operators have access to their servers. Their operation amounts to 1,600+ servers in 54+ countries.
Sadly, the provider does do a good job of unblocking Netflix in other countries, but it can open access to other services, including BBC iPlayer, HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video, and Sling TV.
IPVanish provides connections that are easily up to smoothly streaming the HD content that comes pouring out of the Apple TV. The provider doesn’t impose any bandwidth limitations or data caps on its connections.
The provider’s customer support folk offer excellent support, with email support, 24/7 live support chat, and a searchable knowledge base.
Although the provider doesn’t keep your payment information undercover due to its lack of a cryptocurrency payment option, you won’t need to worry about your online travels being tracked thanks to IPVanish’s no-logs policy.
Your VPN connection will be encrypted using military-grade encryption, so no one can look over your shoulder while you’re paying your bills, shopping online or doing any other online activities.
While IPVanish doesn’t have a native Apple TV app available, it does provide apps for the Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS, and Amazon Fire TV platforms. It offers extensive router compatibility, and pre-configured routers are also available.
- Pre-configured routers available
- Owns and operates its VPN servers
- Top-notch customer support
- No browser extensions
- Lacks cryptocurrency payment options
EXTRA-PRIVATE VPN:IPVanish keeps things close to its vest with its self-owned and -operated servers, offering excellent security to its customers. They could improve their privacy protections with a private payment option. IPVanish’s unlimited simultaneous connection allowance is a definite plus. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
How to Use Apple TV With a VPN
Enhancing your Apple TV viewing session by using a VPN may seem somewhat daunting at first, but it’s actually reasonably easy to do:
- First, subscribe to a VPN. I recommend NordVPN.
- Set up the VPN on a compatible router (or purchase a pre-configured router).
- Select a VPN server located nearest to the streaming content you’d like to access.
- Make sure your Apple TV is connected to the VPN-protected router.
- Grab the popcorn and start streaming!
Is a Free VPN a Good Option For Use With an Apple TV?
I strongly urge you to not attempt to use a “free” VPN with your Apple TV.
For one thing, most free providers require you to use their apps and don’t offer an Apple TV app or router compatibility. So it may not even be possible to use one.
Even if you can somehow connect your router to a gratis VPN provider using an OpenVPN connection, many providers only allow free users to access a limited number of servers, which slows things down too much for streaming.
Plus, free VPNs are known to throttle their users’ connections and impose data caps on their use. Neither is optimal for streaming.
Additionally, most “free” VPN providers make their money by tracking their users’ online activities and then selling that information to the highest bidder. Or, they’ll inject unwanted ads and tracking cookies into your browsing sessions.
It’s a much better idea to pay a few bucks a month for a good VPN, rather than take a chance on jeopardizing your privacy with a free VPN.
Alternatives to Using a Router
If you don’t wish to install a VPN on your router, whether it’s because you’re not comfortable with flashing your router’s firmware or you just can’t justify the purchase of a pre-configured router, there is another way to use a VPN with your Apple TV.
Set Up a VPN-Protected Wi-Fi Hotspot
If you have a Windows or macOS computer, you can use it as a VPN-protected Wi-Fi hotspot.
Many Windows PCs and macOS computers have both a wired Ethernet connection and a Wi-Fi connection, which allows them to share their VPN connection.
You can run a VPN app on your computer and then share your computer’s Wi-Fi connection as a hotspot, allowing you to connect to it with your Apple TV, protecting its connection.
Apple TV VPN FAQs
What Is the Best Free VPN to Use with Apple TV?
You should never use a free VPN with Apple TV. Free VPNs sell your personal information to interested third parties, throttle your connection speeds and limit your activities with data caps. For the best VPN experience with Apple TV, use a paid provider.
What Is the Best VPN for Apple TV for Watching in 4K?
ExpressVPN offers such fast connection speeds that you can watch your favorite TV shows and movies in either HD or 4K, making it the best VPN to use if you want to stream 4K content.
How Does NordVPN Perform With Apple TV?
Unfortunately, NordVPN lacks an Apple TV app, but so does every other VPN on this list. However, you can set up the VPN on your router to protect your Apple TV streaming. You can also use NordVPN's Smart Play DNS service to unblock content on your Apple TV.
I strongly recommend that Apple TV users take advantage of the benefits of using a VPN with their little black set-top box.
A VPN opens access to a world of previously unavailable content, keeps third parties from monitoring your activities, and prevents your connection from being throttled in the middle of a bingeing session.
I recommend NordVPN for its optimal global server coverage, top-notch privacy protections, and fast connections. The provider is an excellent way to open your viewing horizons, while also protecting the security of your internet activities.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the NordVPN website.
- Best VPNs for Apple TV
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. CyberGhost
- 5. IPVanish
- How to Use Apple TV With a VPN
- Is a Free VPN a Good Option For Use With an Apple TV?
- Alternatives to Using a Router
- Apple TV VPN FAQs
- What Is the Best Free VPN to Use with Apple TV?
- What Is the Best VPN for Apple TV for Watching in 4K?
- How Does NordVPN Perform With Apple TV?