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The Best Free & Premium VPNs for Apple TV

Podium Rankings for Best VPN
Simon Migliano

Simon Migliano is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times and more.

Fact-checked by JP JonesAdditional Testing by Luke Williams

We tested 55 VPNs on our Apple TV 4K running tvOS 15. The VPNs we recommend are the best at unblocking popular streaming apps in buffer-free HD quality.

The VPNs we recommend below easily access geo-restricted streaming apps like Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world.

What Is the Best VPN for Apple TV in 2023?

Based on our streaming tests, the best free and premium Apple TV VPNs are:

  1. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for Apple TV
  2. NordVPN: Fastest VPN for Apple TV
  3. Surfshark: Best Cheap VPN for Apple TV
  4. CyberGhost: Best Beginners VPN for Apple TV
  5. Windscribe: Best Free VPN for Apple TV

The overall best VPN for Apple TV in 2023 is ExpressVPN. The VPN’s Smart DNS service (MediaStreamer) is easy to use and unblocks US Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, and many more streaming apps on Apple TV.

Comparison of the Best VPNs for Apple TV

The table below compares our top-rated Apple TV VPNs based on streaming speed, access to US Netflix, Apple TV setup options, and more.

There are no VPN apps on the tvOS App Store. Here are the three ways to use a VPN with Apple TV:

  1. Use Smart DNS on your Apple TV
  2. AirPlay content from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to your Apple TV
  3. Install a VPN on your router

Our dedicated guide explains in much more detail how to set up and use a VPN with Apple TV.

Top Apple TV VPNs: Summary Test Ratings

Use the table below to see how the best Apple TV VPNs performed in each testing category:

Why Trust Top10VPN.com?

We’re completely independent and focused on VPN software. We’ve spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing Apple TV VPNs using our Apple TV VPN testing process to recommend the best ones.

Here is an overview of our key Apple TV VPN testing statistics:

VPN Services Reviewed55
Test DeviceApple TV 4K
Total Hours of Testing30,000+
Weekly Speed Tests3,000+
Streaming Services Tested Daily 12

Analysis of the Best Apple TV VPNs

  1. 1. ExpressVPN: Best Apple TV VPN

    The best overall Apple TV VPN, with Smart DNS and a router app.

    Ranked #1 out of 55 VPNs for Apple TV
    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devices
     Rated 4.8 out of 5 
    1,849 reviews
    Visit ExpressVPN

    • MediaStreamer DNS works well on Apple TV
    • Unblocks US Netflix & 9 other regions
    • Excellent speeds worldwide
    • Strong privacy and security features
    • Easy to use apps for iOS & macOS
    • Includes a dedicated router app

    • Expensive

    Overall Apple TV Rating: 9.8/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our Apple TV VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 9.79.7/10

    The best VPN for Apple TV is ExpressVPN. It’s extremely fast, highly reliable and also very private.

    ExpressVPN comes with a great Smart DNS tool called MediaStreamer. It works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and many other popular streaming services.

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection97Mbps
    Smart DNSYes
    Dedicated App for RoutersYes
    Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosMac OS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. androidAndroid

    MediaStreamer DNS Works on Apple TV

    ExpressVPN lets you unblock content on Apple TV without having to use a VPN app.

    Thanks to its Smart DNS tool called MediaStreamer, you can route your DNS requests through a proxy server to stream geo-blocked TV shows and movies.

    Using ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer in our tests, we were able to unblock US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and many more content platforms.

    You can watch us setting up and using MediaStreamer to stream content in the video below:

    Using ExpressVPN's MediaStreamer to stream content on Apple TV.

    Simple Apps for Routers and iPhone

    Using AirPlay, you can share content from your iPhone or Mac to Apple TV. ExpressVPN has some of the most user-friendly iOS and macOS apps, making this a simple task.

    Also, ExpressVPN is by far the best VPN for routers. Connecting your Apple TV to a VPN-enabled router lets you encrypt traffic, hide your IP address, and only use up one simultaneous connection. This is not true for either Smart DNS or AirPlay.

    Unlike the other top Apple TV VPNs, ExpressVPN offers a dedicated router app. Other VPNs rely on outdated router dashboards that you can only access via a computer.

    ExpressVPN’s router app allows you to change settings and connect to a different server through an easy-to-use graphical interface.

    Fast Speeds for HD & 4K Streaming

    We regularly test ExpressVPN’s speed, both locally and internationally, and the results are always exceptional.

    In general, your download speed has to be over 5Mbps to stream in HD on your Apple TV.

    We recorded average global download speeds of 71Mbps in our latest ExpressVPN tests. That’s just a 31% drop from our regular internet speeds.

    In short, ExpressVPN unblocks content without any buffering or lag from anywhere in the world.

    Overall, ExpressVPN is an outstanding VPN for streaming on Apple TV. If you ever run into issues, contact its 24/7 live chat support team. In our experience, it will quickly resolve most issues.

  2. 2. NordVPN: Fastest Apple TV VPN

    NordLynx protocol is fast for buffer-free HD & 4K streaming.

    NordVPN Mobile App Screenshot
     Rated 4.7 out of 5 
    246 reviews
    Visit NordVPN

    • Unblocks Netflix, Prime Video & more
    • Smart DNS works with BBC iPlayer
    • NordLynx delivers fast download speeds
    • User-friendly apps for iOS & macOS
    • Superb privacy features

    • No app for routers

    Overall Apple TV Rating: 9.3/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our Apple TV VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.29.2/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 88.0/10
    • 9.79.7/10

    NordVPN is a popular VPN service, which also works very well on Apple TV.

    The VPN comes with the fast NordLynx protocol, an effective Smart DNS tool, and unlimited bandwidth.

    NordVPN isn’t quite as good as ExpressVPN and doesn’t have an app for routers, but it’s still an excellent choice for Apple TV users.

    Cheapest Price$3.29/mo over 2 years See all plans
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection95Mbps
    Smart DNSYes
    Dedicated App for RoutersNo
    Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosMac OS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. androidAndroid

    Smart DNS Unblocks All Popular Streaming Apps

    Unlike most of the other VPNs in this list, NordVPN’s Smart DNS tool works with BBC iPlayer.

    In fact, NordVPN is currently our favorite VPN for BBC iPlayer. It unblocks the British streaming service in HD on all its UK servers.

    NordVPN’s Smart DNS feature is easy to set up and can be used to unblock other streaming services, too, including US Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max.

    NordVPN’s Smart DNS feature unblocks content on Apple TV

    NordVPN’s Smart DNS feature unblocks content on Apple TV.

    Fast Speeds & Strong Encryption

    The combination of NordVPN’s 5,754 servers and its use of the WireGuard protocol equals fast speeds on your Apple TV, wherever you are.

    Our tests found that NordVPN slows your internet speed by an average of 20% on international connections, making it one of the fastest VPNs available.

    NordVPN doesn’t compromise on security and privacy, either. It secures traffic using strong AES-256 encryption and includes tonnes of advanced features — including Double Hop, RAM-based servers, and DNS leak protection.

    No Dedicated Router App

    The main drawback to using NordVPN for Apple TV is that it doesn’t offer an app for routers.

    You can still set the VPN up on your router, but it’s more complicated to change server location and change settings.

    That said, once set up, an unlimited amount of devices on your network can use the VPN connection. You won’t have to manually connect on each device, either.

    On the whole, NordVPN is an exceptional VPN well worth considering for Apple TV. You can also use NordVPN free for 30 days by taking advantage of its money-back guarantee.

  3. 3. Surfshark: Best Cheap Apple TV VPN

    A budget VPN with Smart DNS and access to 10 Netflix regions.

    Surfshark app
     Rated 4.1 out of 5 
    131 reviews
    Visit Surfshark

    • Works with 10 Netflix libraries
    • Streams HBO Max & Disney+
    • Zero-logs privacy policy
    • Excellent value
    • Detailed online guides & 24/7 live chat

    • Smart DNS doesn’t unblock BBC iPlayer
    • Not as fast as other VPNs
    • Doesn't work with Hulu

    Overall Apple TV Rating: 8.8/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our Apple TV VPN testing methodology.

    • 8.58.5/10
    • 99.0/10
    • 9.79.7/10
    • 88.0/10
    • 9.19.1/10

    Surfshark is an excellent budget choice for Apple TV. It’s cheap, easy to use, and unblocks many streaming services when running on a router or PC.

    However, Surfshark’s Smart DNS tool only works with US Netflix and Disney+.

    Cheapest Price$2.30/mo over 26 months See all plans
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection95Mbps
    Smart DNSYes
    Dedicated App for RoutersNo
    Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosMac OS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. androidAndroid

    Fully-Featured & Available for a Bargain Price

    One of Surfshark’s main benefits is its cheap price. The VPN is available for as low as $2.30 when you pay for two years upfront.

    Although it’s cheaper than the other VPNs we recommend, Surfshark matches them when it comes to the most important features.

    Surfshark works great for streaming, it has a no-logs policy, 24/7 customer support, and uses the fast WireGuard protocol. This is great value for the amount you pay.

    No Native App for Routers

    Surfshark’s native iOS and macOS apps are very good and easy to use. Using AirPlay and your VPN together couldn’t be easier.

    In terms of router support, Surfshark doesn’t have a pre-configured router, but you can manually set the VPN on your home router.

    The VPN provider’s online manuals make the setup process easier for you, but it’s not ideal. Using ExpressVPN’s VPN router app is significantly easier.

    Subpar Smart DNS & Slower Speeds

    Surfshark’s Smart DNS feature only works with US Netflix and Disney+. This doesn’t come close to the number of apps ExpressVPN and NordVPN unblock.

    But, using the service’s Smart DNS is still good enough as a cheap way to stream US Netflix using Surfshark on your Apple TV.

    The Smart DNS settings page in our Surfshark account

    The Smart DNS settings page in our Surfshark account.

    Surfshark is also let down by its relatively slow streaming speeds. Although they’ve recently improved, Surfshark is still one of the slower top VPNs in our tests.

    The VPN’s speeds are fast enough for HD streaming but, depending on your internet connection, you may struggle to stream in 4K.

  4. 4. CyberGhost: Best Apple TV VPN for Beginners

    An easy-to-use VPN for Apple TV aimed at first-time users.

    CyberGhost app
     Rated 4.7 out of 5 
    343 reviews
    Visit CyberGhost

    • Unblocks 13 Netflix libraries via dedicated servers
    • Works with Hulu & Disney+
    • Easy-to-use iOS & macOS apps
    • Long 45-day money-back guarantee

    • Streams fewer Netflix catalogs than its rivals
    • Smart DNS doesn’t work for streaming
    • Slow international speeds

    Overall Apple TV Rating: 7.5/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our Apple TV VPN testing methodology.

    • 66.0/10
    • 77.0/10
    • 9.79.7/10
    • 7.57.5/10
    • 8.58.5/10

    CyberGhost is a good beginner VPN for Apple TV, but it doesn’t match the performance of our higher-rated VPNs for Apple TV.

    It’s a good streaming VPN when set up on a router, but its speeds are slow and its Smart DNS tool doesn’t work.

    Cheapest Price$2.19/mo over 26 months See all plans
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection94Mbps
    Smart DNSYes
    Dedicated App for RoutersNo
    Money-Back Guarantee 45 Days
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosMac OS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. androidAndroid

    Intuitive Apps for iOS and macOS

    CyberGhost is a budget VPN service with user-friendly iOS and macOS apps that work well with AirPlay.

    You can also use CyberGhost with your home router or with a pre-configured router from FlashRouters.

    CyberGhost VPN is a budget VPN service that unblocks US Netflix Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

    The VPN operates specific servers for Netflix, with regularly updated US IP addresses to effectively bypass Netflix’s VPN blocks.

    CyberGhost has specific servers optimized for streaming Netflix

    CyberGhost has specific servers optimized for streaming Netflix.

    Smart DNS Tool Doesn’t Work on Apple TV

    Although CyberGhost says its Smart DNS tool unblocks Netflix US and Hulu, our tests found that this is not true.

    When we connected to its DNS servers, the Apple TV Netflix app wouldn’t even load.

    We experienced the same issue trying to stream Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.

    As such, to unblock video content on Apple TV using CyberGhost, you can only use AirPlay or set up the VPN on your router.

    International speed losses of over 19%

    The main issue with CyberGhost is that it’s slower than every other top VPN.

    Our download speeds fell by 19% to 81Mbps when we tested connecting to a Australia VPN server from New York, US.

    CyberGhost’s comparatively slow internet speeds mean HD streaming is not always possible. Depending on your home connection speed, you may experience some buffering and lag.

    Overall, CyberGhost is an Apple TV VPN aimed at beginners. Although it’s not as good as the VPNs above, it’s cheap and does unblock US Netflix.

    Moreover, the VPN service offers a very generous no-questions-asked money-back guarantee of 45 days.

  5. 5. Windscribe: Best Free VPN for Apple TV

    Free tier works for streaming, premium plan unblocks 32 Netflix regions.

    Windscribe mobile screenshots
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    3 reviews
    Visit Windscribe

    • 100% free to download and use
    • Free version works with several streaming apps
    • Unblocks 6 Netflix regions
    • Unlimited simultaneous connections
    • Privacy-oriented logging policy
    • Simple iOS and macOS apps

    • Smart DNS requires an additional purchase
    • Average long-distance speeds
    • No human live chat support
    • 10 GB data limit on the free plan

    Overall Apple TV Rating: 6.9/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our Apple TV VPN testing methodology.

    • 33.0/10
    • 6.86.8/10
    • 9.79.7/10
    • 88.0/10
    • 9.39.3/10

    Windscribe Free is the best free VPN for Apple TV. It’s safe, uses strong encryption, and unblocks 6 Netflix libraries.

    If you want to unblock geo-restricted content on streaming platforms, then it’s worth paying for Windscribe’s premium subscription. It unblocked almost every service we tested, including HBO Max, Disney+, and 32 Netflix regions.

    Cheapest PriceFree
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection90Mbps
    Smart DNSNo
    Dedicated App for RoutersNo
    Compatible with
    1. iosiOS
    2. macosMac OS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. androidAndroid

    Works with Most Streaming Services

    The premium version of Windscribe unblocks 32 Netflix libraries, including the US, UK, South Korea, Australia, and Brazil.

    It’s a feat that not even ExpressVPN can beat. This makes Windscribe one of the best VPNs for Netflix overall.

    In our tests we found that Windscribe unblocks every streaming service we test for. This includes Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max.

    Just make sure that the ‘Unlock Streaming’ option in your Windscribe ‘My Account’ section is switched on.

    The Best Free VPN for Apple TV

    Windscribe VPN comes in two versions: free and paid. Overall, Windscribe Free is by far the best free VPN for Apple TV.

    The free tier unblocks UK Netflix and BBC iPlayer, which is excellent for a free VPN. However, you can only access 10 server locations, with data usage capped at 10GB per month.

    Using Windscribe Free with BBC iPlayer

    Windscribe Free unblocked BBC iPlayer from abroad.

    Instead, the paid version of Windscribe is unlimited and gives you access to 69 countries.

    Speeds are also faster with the premium version of Windscribe, although long-distance connections are rather slow compared to the fastest VPNs.

    Works with Internet Routers

    Sadly, Windscribe’s Smart DNS functionality requires an additional purchase. Other VPNs in this list, including ExpressVPN, include Smart DNS for no additional cost.

    To use the VPN with your Apple TV, run the VPN on your iOS or macOS device, and use AirPlay to send your stream to the TV.

    Alternatively, set Windscribe up at the router level. Windscribe is compatible with routers running both the Tomato and DD-WRT firmware. Visit the VPN’s website for setup instructions for Asus routers.

    All in all, Windscribe is a good VPN for Apple TV, which you can try completely for free.

Other Apple TV VPNs We Considered

Not every VPN is optimized to work with Apple TV. Apple TV doesn’t support native VPN applications, therefore a VPN must have either Smart DNS or router support.

We tested 55 VPNs for Apple TV, and below is a summary of the test ratings for five very popular services you shouldn’t use.

Private Internet Access

Smart DNS: 2.0/102.0

Logging Policy: 9.7/109.7

Speed: 9.7/109.7

Streaming: 9.1/109.1

What we don’t like: Private Internet Access is very fast and works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer. The problem is that its Smart DNS service doesn’t unblock many streaming apps. You’ll have to set up PIA on your home router, or use Air Play, to use the VPN with your Apple TV.


Smart DNS: 1.0/101.0

Speed: 9.8/109.8

Streaming: 9.1/109.1

What we don’t like: IPVanish has no Smart DNS functionality. Like PIA, you’ll have to set it up on your router or use Air Play. IPVanish’s iOS application isn’t very intuitive, though.

Proton VPN

Smart DNS: 1.0/101.0

Speed: 8.6/108.6

Streaming: 9.5/109.5

What we don’t like: Proton VPN works with 10, HBO Max, and Prime Video. It doesn’t have a Smart DNS tool, so router setup or Air Play are your only options.

Hotspot Shield

Smart DNS: 1.0/101.0

Speed: 10.0/1010.0

Streaming: 6.0/106.0

What we don’t like: Hotspot Shield has not Smart DNS support, and isn’t particularly good for streaming. While you can set it up on your router, or use Air Play, we don’t recommend using Hotspot Shield with your Apple TV.


Smart DNS: 1.0/101.0

Speed: 9.3/109.3

Streaming: 7.2/107.2

What we don’t like: TunnelBear is a bad VPN for streaming. It doesn’t unblock many streaming apps, it doesn’t have Smart DNS functionality, and it’s not compatbile with routers. TunnelBear is largely useless for Apple TV users.

How We Test VPNs for Apple TV

When ranking the best VPNs for Apple TV, we prioritize five key performance attributes. We combine these to calculate an overall Apple TV rating for every VPN.

Here’s a summary of our Apple TV VPN testing process:

To find the best Apple TV VPN, we test for:

  • A Smart DNS feature that’s easy to set up.
  • How well the VPN integrates with the Apple ecosystem.
  • Whether the VPN can stream geo-restricted streaming apps, like US Netflix.
  • A native app for routers, so you can switch your Apple TV’s location easily.
  • Average download speeds when connected to nearby and far-away servers.
  • Fast download speeds for HD streaming.

Here’s a full list of the factors we analyze when looking for the best Apple TV VPN, along with how much of our overall rating they make up:

1. Smart DNS: 25%

Minimum Requirement: A Smart DNS tool available for an additional cost.
We Recommend: An included Smart DNS feature that works with US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Max.

Using a VPN with Apple TV is more complicated than other streaming devices. Because of this, the best Apple TV VPN has to have good support for easy workarounds, like Smart DNS.

Our highest-ranked Apple TV VPNs offer a Smart DNS tool at no extra cost. The VPNs lower down our recommendations list either don’t include this feature for free, or it doesn’t work consistently.

We also never take a VPN service at its word and test them all on our Apple TV 4K.

For example, we found that CyberGhost’s Smart DNS feature doesn’t work for streaming, even though it claims it works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

2. Apple System Integration: 25%

Minimum Requirement: Has native apps for iOS and macOS.
We Recommend: Optimized app for iPad, available on the macOS App Store, has Siri Shortcut support, and widget options.

As an Apple TV user, it’s likely that you’ll also be using an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. To make sure the VPNs we recommend function properly across all your devices, we test how well each VPN integrates with the Apple ecosystem.

For each VPN, we track whether it offers convenient downloads through the Mac App Store, whether its app has been optimized for a large display, and whether it runs natively on Apple’s M1 chip.

We also test whether its iOS app can be automated using Siri Shortcuts, as well as if it offers the option to add a widget to your iPhone or iPad’s home screen.

3. Streaming: 20%

Minimum Requirement: Unblocks US Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
We Recommend: Works with more than 10 Netflix libraries, HBO Max, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.

The main benefit of using a VPN with Apple TV is that you can access a lot more TV shows and movies. However, almost every streaming service actively blocks VPNs.

To make sure the VPNs we recommend unblock the most popular streaming apps, we test all of them weekly on our Apple TV 4K. This way, all of our information is kept accurate and up-to-date.

Our tests include Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, Hulu, HBO Max, and more.

4. Router Compatibility: 20%

Minimum Requirement: Can be installed on an internet router with instructional guides available.
We Recommend: A dedicated router app that allows for settings and server location to be easily changed.

Installing a VPN on your router gives your Apple TV the full capability of your VPN service. Unlike with Smart DNS, you can change the server location, hide your IP address, and encrypt your traffic.

We visit each VPN’s website and follow the guide to setting up a VPN on an internet router. We then install it on our Asus RT-AC68U and rank each on its difficulty.

We also look for whether the VPN provides an app for routers. This makes changing settings and server locations much quicker than doing it manually.

5. Speed: 10%

Minimum Requirement: An average download speed of 75Mbps.
We Recommend: An average download speed of 100Mbps.

Every VPN will slow down your internet speed. The best ones will make this difference unnoticeable, though, so you can still stream in HD and 4K. Netflix states that your download speed needs to be 5Mbps for an HD stream and 25Mbps for 4K.

To verify that the VPNs we recommend are the fastest available, we conduct regular speed tests on both local and international connections.

We cap the test connection speed at 100Mbps, to replicate a typical home connection. If a VPN drops below the threshold of 25Mbps on international connections, we no longer recommend it.

This speed threshold ensures that all the VPNs we recommend are well-suited for Apple TV streaming.


What is Smart DNS?

Smart DNS is a service used by some VPNs to change a device’s DNS settings in order to connect it to a VPN server. Using Smart DNS doesn’t change your IP address, though.

Using Smart DNS is a very easy way to connect to a VPN server on Apple TV, but it’s not a full VPN solution. This means that it will not encrypt your connection, nor will it make you anonymous online.

What Is the Best VPN Router for Apple TV?

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 that supports OpenVPN will get you set up quicker.

You will need to keep 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 a greater range.

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

For a more in-depth look at VPN routers, along with their benefits beyond Apple TV, read our guide to VPN routers and how to set them up.

Does a VPN Change App Store Location?

No, a VPN alone will not change your Apple App Store location.

To change App Store location, go to Settings > General > Apple TV Language. Then go to General > Region Format and select the correct region.

After doing this, you’ll be able to download geo-blocked tvOS apps, like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and HBO Max.