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Best VPN for Apple TV

By Simon Migliano | Updated October 3, 2019

Illustration of Apple TV device and remote control

Apple TV is an increasingly popular choice for home entertainment. But as its capabilities grow, making sure your activity is properly secure becomes more and more important.

As with many household internet of things devices, security on Apple TV is often overlooked. This can put both your privacy and data at risk.

Frustratingly, the App Store for Apple TV is more limited than on other Apple devices, and for now there is no native VPN compatibility for your Apple TV.

But there are still some ways you can work around that.

There are a few workarounds that let you secure either your media or your whole Apple TV behind a VPN.

If you would like to know more about how to get a VPN working with your Apple TV you can skip down the page. First, here’s some more information on what we look for when choosing the VPNs for this page.

What We Expect to See in a VPN for Apple TV

  1. Easy router-level VPN setup
  2. Unlocks Netflix & other streaming services
  3. Maintains fast & reliable speeds
  4. Provides full security for your Apple TV
  5. Doesn't log user activity & hides your true IP
  6. Works on iPhones & iPads (for AirDrop use)

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

Best VPN Services That Work with Apple TV

1. ExpressVPN

Ranked #1 out of 72 VPNs for Apple TV

  1. Download speeds up to 62Mbps
  2. Reliable access to Netflix and iPlayer
  3. MediaStreamer DNS works with Apple TV
  4. Fast and user-friendly setup on all devices
  5. Secure connection to 94 countries
  6. Plug-and-play pre-configured router available
  1. More expensive than alternatives
  • Best Price

    $6.67/mo over 15 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    85Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    94 countries, 3,000+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN isn’t only our best VPN overall, it’s also our best VPN for Apple TV.

ExpressVPN exceeds other VPN services both in number of server locations available and in the raw number of servers and IPs on offer. It also offers reliable access to a huge array of streaming services – and live chat is on hand 24/7 to help you find the best server for your streaming service of choice.

It works consistently with the widest selection of streaming services we’ve seen from any provider, with Netflix, BBC iPlayer and many more. If you plan to stream from lots of different services, ExpressVPN sets the standard.

Importantly for use with Apple TV, ExpressVPN has the widest selection of pre-configured routers we’ve seen, with an option to specify setup requirements when you buy for a ‘plug-and-play’ option – where you can use your VPN router straight out of the box without any setup.

ExpressVPN also provides the smart DNS service MediaStreamer DNS on its routers, allowing you to quickly access regional content without necessarily having the VPN active.

If you’re primarily interested in privacy, ExpressVPN has a thorough and safe logging policy. ExpressVPN keeps minimal logs but nothing which could be used to identify you, and it is located in a privacy friendly jurisdiction.

For a more in-depth look, read our full ExpressVPN review.

2. PrivateVPN

Ranked #2 out of 72 VPNs for Apple TV

  1. Download speeds reach 87Mbps
  2. Reliable access to Netflix and iPlayer
  3. Secure connection to 59 countries
  4. Over 7,000 unique IP addresses
  5. Easy VPN router setup
  6. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. Inconsistent livechat availability
  2. Small number of servers per location
  • Best Price

    $1.89/mo over 2 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    86Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 150+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

PrivateVPN is a great budget option which falls at the lower end of the price range without sacrificing exceptional speeds. It frequently outperforms bigger name providers in speed tests – ideal for streaming on Apple TV.

There are routers pre-configured with PrivateVPN available to make using Apple TV with it quick and easy.

PrivateVPN won’t work quite as fresh out the box on a new router like one of ExpressVPN’s, but PrivateVPN has online guides to make router installation as painless as possible.

If you come across any difficulties then don’t worry, PrivateVPN has you covered – there’s live chat assistance available, too.

PrivateVPN’s strict no-logs policy helps to safeguard your security and privacy – which is increasingly necessary for internet connected household devices.

It’s also capable of maintaining great speeds while downloading or streaming video and consistently works with a really wide set of streaming services including Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

For a more in-depth look, read our full PrivateVPN review.

3. Private Internet Access

Ranked #3 out of 72 VPNs for Apple TV

  1. Best download speeds here - 89Mbps
  2. Reliable access to Netflix
  3. Available on pre-configured VPN router
  4. Secure connection to 32 countries
  5. Online guides available
  6. No logs policy verified in court
  1. Fewer servers than other providers
  2. Limited live chat support
  3. Unable to access BBC iPlayer
  • Best Price

    $3.33/mo over 12 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    89Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    31 countries, 3,200+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Private Internet Access is one of the fastest VPNs on this list and it offers access to a large number of popular streaming services, including Netflix.

We’ve found access to BBC iPlayer through PIA can be inconsistent, though – frequent viewers be warned.

Like several other VPNs on this list Private Internet Access holds a strict no-logs policy. Unlike some others, though, the integrity of its policy has been tested and confirmed in multiple court cases.

The VPN also comes with optional detailed security settings for niche technical needs and preferences, as well as future-proofed IPV6 leak protection.

There are routers pre-configured with PIA, as well as specific online guides which simplify the setup process so you can protect your Apple TV behind a VPN as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately Private Internet Access has fewer servers available than other VPN providers along with a fairly limited live chat, so you may find it slightly harder to find the best server for your go to streaming service.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Private Internet Access review.

4. IPVanish

Ranked #4 out of 72 VPNs for Apple TV

  1. Download speeds up to 56Mbps
  2. Works with Netflix
  3. Available on pre-configured routers
  4. Secure connection to 50 countries
  5. More than 40,000 unique IP addresses
  6. Strict no-logs policy
  1. Apps can be difficult for beginners
  2. Doesn't work with Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or iPlayer
  3. Short 7-day refund period
  • Best Price

    $3.25/mo over 12 months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    84Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    50 countries, 1,300 servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Because IPVanish is P2P focused, it offers good speeds – which means you can expect buffer-free streaming.

IPVanish doesn’t work with quite as many streaming services as other VPNs on this list, so make sure your favourite service is compatible beforehand.

Pre-configured routers are available for minimal setup, and IPVanish also has some of the best online instructions we’ve seen in case you want to reconfigure your own router.

IPVanish also has 24/7 live chat in case you encounter any problems getting your Apple TV setup on the VPN.

While useful and easy to install, the apps for IPVanish are less beginner-friendly than other alternatives. Because of this we would recommend IPVanish more for advanced users than newbies.

Last but not least, its strict zero-logs policy is as important and welcome as ever – IPVanish will keep you safe, both while you watch your Apple TV and on any other device you install it on.

For a more in-depth look, read our full IPVanish review.

5. Surfshark

Ranked #5 out of 72 VPNs for Apple TV

  1. Impressive download speeds up to 76Mbps
  2. Reliably works with Netflix
  3. Smart DNS works with Apple TV
  4. Strict zero-logs policy
  5. Detailed online guides and 24/7 live-chat
  6. VPN servers in 50 countries
  1. Unreliable access to BBC iPlayer
  • Best Price

    $1.99/mo over 24 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    85Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    61 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

One of the smaller VPN providers featured on this list, but nonetheless a great choice for Apple TV, Surfshark keeps up with the super-fast speeds of larger providers.

Surfshark offers access to a huge number of streaming services including Netflix and BBC iPlayer – although iPlayer can be inconsistent.

While Surfshark is the only VPN in this roundup that is not available with a pre-configured router, it has put together router-specific online guides which make installation as easy as possible.

It should not go unnoticed that Surfshark is the most economical option here, at a remarkable price point for the performance on offer.

Surfshark also has a watertight no-logs policy, which is absolutely vital for privacy and security.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Surfshark review.

Popular Questions

Which VPN Works with Apple TV?

Any VPN which can be set up on a router can be used alongside Apple TV.

When choosing our best VPNs for Apple TV we narrowed our selection down to providers who offer comprehensive step-by-step guides to installing the VPN on a compatible router.

This saves you the headache of trying to decipher the technical details yourself while also making it more likely the VPN will work exactly as you want it to.

We have also made sure that our top VPNs for Apple TV work with Netflix and other popular streaming services, delivering consistently fast performance in our global speed tests.

If you want to help secure your data it is important that your VPN provider has transparent and privacy-friendly logging policies – these VPNs all operate with no-logs policies (or close to it), too.

Several of our top VPNs offer advanced DNS services, too, which make the process of using a router to access regional content even easier – the ExpressVPN MediaStreamer DNS is a great example.

Can I Use VPN with Apple TV?

While it may not be possible to download a VPN directly onto your Apple TV or download it onto an app, there are a few easy methods of securing your Apple TV within a VPN.

The most popular methods involve installing the VPN at router level or piggybacking off the connection from another device.

Setting a VPN up on your router comes with additional benefits, and will secure every internet connected device in your home, including other potentially vulnerable internet of things devices.

You can also use AirPlay to cast media to your Apple TV from a VPN protected device – although this will not protect activity on the Apple TV itself.

How To Use a VPN with Apple TV

These are all the methods we have found for using Apple TV with VPN:

1Using a pre-configured router with VPN

The most popular method of running an Apple TV with VPN is to run your VPN on a pre-configured router. These routers arrive almost completely setup and are available for all our top picks (except Surfshark).

Once you have purchased the router you just need to follow step by step instructions on your VPN provider’s website and you’ll be ready to go.

This is by far the easiest way to setup a VPN on your router, and the most reliable way to run your Apple TV through a VPN. Pre-configured routers aren’t cheap, and you’ll still need to pay your VPN subscription on top of that price.

2Configuring a router to use with VPN

Configuring a router yourself is slightly more difficult than purchasing a pre setup router, but can be way cheaper.

It isn’t possible to do with just any router, though, so you’ll need to purchase a router which has either been configured with an OpenVPN client or which can be flashed with new firmware.

We’ve put together a detailed walkthrough for you – take a look at ‘How to Install a VPN on a Router’.

3Piggybacking off another device’s connection

It is possible to run your PC as a router, and use this connection to secure your Apple TV within a VPN.

A surprising upside to running a hotspot from your laptop is that the router element of your device functions pretty much separately from the rest of the device.

This means that if you run a VPN on your device it won’t automatically protect devices attached to your hotspot – and as a consequence properly setting up your VPN on this connection requires a bit of extra work.

It is still very possible (see this ExpressVPN guide for instructions), but we only recommend advanced users try this technique.

Currently this method is possible on both Mac and PC, but only via the weak and outdated PPTP encryption protocol on Mac.

4Casting to your Apple TV using AirPlay

If you have a MacOS or iOS device – such as an iPhone, MacBook or iMac – you can easily cast media from your device to an Apple TV using AirPlay.

Some VPNs suggest that this method will not work with their service. Fortunately, in all our tests we found it worked perfectly.

This is the easiest way to unlock geo-restricted content, too, as the process is just as simple as if you were watching your favorite streaming service over VPN on the device itself.

You’ll need to have a VPN installed on your Apple device of choice – see our best VPNs for Mac or best VPNs for iPhone & iPad if you intend to use this method.

Before using AirPlay you need to make sure both your Apple TV and iMac or iOS device are connected to the same WiFi Network.

To use AirPlay from an iOS device, you simply need to open the pull-up menu from the bottom of the page and press “Screen Mirroring”, then select your Apple TV from the list of available devices.

First select screen mirroring, then select your Apple TV from the list of devices

Alternatively, the app you’re streaming through (like Netflix or YouTube) may well have an AirPlay icon of its own – tap it and you can cast straight from the app to your Apple TV.

From a Mac the process is very similar. Simply select the AirPlay logo at the top of your screen, then select your Apple TV from the list of available devices.

On Mac you need to select the AirPlay icon from the top of your screen

Casting from Android devices is more limited – at the time of writing there are no apps available through the Google Play Store which allow you to cast directly to your Apple TV from an Android device.

VPN via AirPlay comes with an important limitation: you will only secure the media from your iOS or Mac device, not everything on your Apple TV. But it is also one of the simplest ways to use a VPN with Apple TV, and is satisfactory if you only want to get around regional content blocks.

What Is Smart DNS?

Smart DNS server network

A Smart DNS is a free additional service offered by some VPNs which allows you to change your DNS settings without altering your IP address.

While this method can be a quick and easy way to access geo-blocked content, it is not a full VPN and will not offer you privacy or secure your data.

What Is the Best VPN Router?

When selecting a router for your VPN there are several important factors that you should keep in mind – a VPN compatible router can cost much more than a standard router (generally over $100) so you only want to make the purchase once.

For a router to support a VPN, it needs to either support an OpenVPN client or include the capacity to be flashed with new firmware. A router which supports OpenVPN will get you set up quicker.

You will need to bear in mind how many devices you plan to connect to the router, as some have limits. Similarly, depending on the size of your home you may need a router with greater range.

If you are not comfortable with this more technical process we recommend purchasing a pre-configured router from your VPN provider – these are available for most of our top picks for Apple TV.

For a proper look at VPN routers, along with their benefits beyond Apple TV, see our guide to what is a VPN router.

Can I Use NordVPN for Apple TV?

It is entirely possible to use NordVPN for Apple TV in the same manner as outlined for our top providers on this page – if you already have NordVPN feel free to try it out for increased security.

NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN providers, and currently ranks as our number two best VPN overall.

But there is one big reason we haven’t included NordVPN in this top five: streaming sites, including Netflix and BBC iPlayer, do not currently work with NordVPN when it’s installed at the router level.

Since the most user-friendly and secure methods of getting your Apple TV set up with a VPN require it to be installed at router level, this is a big problem for anyone looking to stream content on their Apple TV.

About the Author

  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon is our Head of Research and has tested hundreds of VPNs since 2016. His research has been covered by the BBC, The New York Times, CNet, Wired, and more. Read full bio