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The Best VPNs for Apple TV

Podium Rankings for Best VPN

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

The release of tvOS 17 means that you can now install VPN apps on your Apple TV.

To find the best options, we tested 65 VPNs on our Apple TV 4K. The VPNs we recommend are the best at unblocking popular streaming apps in HD quality.

Summary: The Best Apple TV VPNs

Based on our tests, here’s a summary of our recommended VPNs for Apple TV:

  1. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for Apple TV Overall
  2. IPVanish: Best Cheap Apple TV VPN
  3. Atlas VPN Free: Best Free Apple TV VPN

OUR VERDICT: Our top-rated VPN for Apple TV is ExpressVPN thanks to its user-friendly tvOS app, which consistently unblocks popular geo-restricted apps like US Netflix, Disney+, and Max (HBO). The best 100% free Apple TV VPN is Atlas VPN, which unblocks several US-based streaming apps.

Though there are many ways to use a VPN with Apple TV, including Smart DNS, and AirPlay, the most straightforward method is using a dedicated app.

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

Top Apple TV VPNs Compared

The table below compares our top-rated Apple TV VPNs based on streaming speed, access to geo-blocked Netflix catalogs, Apple TV setup options, and price.

Why Trust Us?

We’re fully independent and have been reviewing VPNs since 2016. Our ratings are based on our own testing results and are unaffected by financial incentives. Learn who we are and how we test VPNs.

VPNs Tested with Apple TV65
VPNs with a tvOS App11
Streaming Services Tested97

Analysis of the Best Apple TV VPNs

  1. 1. ExpressVPN: Best Apple TV VPN Overall

    An excellent tvOS VPN application that unblocks most streaming services.

    Ranked #1 out of 65 VPNs for Apple TV
    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devicesVisit ExpressVPN

    • Well-designed native tvOS application
    • Unblocks US Netflix & 17 other regions
    • MediaStreamer DNS also works well on Apple TV
    • Includes a rare dedicated router app
    • Excellent speeds worldwide
    • Fast & knowledgeable 24/7 support

    • More expensive than most other VPNs
    • tvOS app doesn't support split tunneling
    • tvOS app lacks customizable settings

    Overall Apple TV Rating: 9.2/10

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

    • 8.5/10
    • 9.9/10
    • 9.7/10

    ExpressVPN is a superb choice for Apple TV. It’s dedicated tvOS app is extremely fast and highly effective at unblocking over 95% of geo-restricted apps.

    The VPN successfully unblocked 18 Netflix regions, Prime Video, Disney+, Max (HBO), and many other popular services.

    ExpressVPN also offers a great Smart DNS tool called MediaStreamer, although you can only unblock American and British apps through it.

    ExpressVPN's app for Apple TV

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection97Mbps
    Dedicated tvOS AppYes
    Countries with Servers106
    Support24/7 Live Chat
    Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days

    A User-friendly Native tvOS App

    To use ExpressVPN on Apple TV, we strongly recommend using its dedicated tvOS application.

    It’s highly intuitive, just like the other applications released by the VPN provider.

    We really enjoyed using the app, particularly accessing VPN server locations.

    Differently to its other software, ExpressVPN has chosen to group locations by continent, which made it easier for us to find desired locations.

    ExpressVPN Apple TV App

    Testing ExpressVPN’s Apple TV app.

    Also, you can activate the app via another device rather than having to insert your login credential through your remote.

    The only limitations of the tvOS app is that it’s only available in dark mode, and doesn’t offer any customizable settings.

    This means you can’t change protocol (the app uses Lightway by default) or enable split tunneling, for example.

    Other Methods Also Work Well on Apple TV

    If you want, you can also use ExpressVPN to unblock content on Apple TV without using its 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.

    The only issue with using MediaStreamer is that you can only unblock US and UK apps.

    Alternatively, you can share content from your iPhone or Mac to Apple TV via airplay.

    ExpressVPN has the most user-friendly iOS and macOS apps, making this a simple task. However, keep in mind that Netflix blocks AirPlay.

    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 international download speeds of 85Mbps in our latest ExpressVPN tests. That’s just a 15% drop from our regular internet speeds.

    Using ExpressVPN we have yet to experience buffering or lag unblocking content on our Apple TV 4K.

  2. 2. IPVanish: Best Cheap Apple TV VPN

    Affordable VPN with a dedicated app for Apple TV.

    IPVanish VPNVisit IPVanish

    • tvOS VPN app ensures straightforward setup
    • Fully-featured apps for other Apple devices
    • Successfully unblocks US Netflix, Hulu & more
    • Fast download speeds across all servers
    • IP addresses available from 53 countries

    • Doesn't unblock Max (HBO) or Prime Video
    • tvOS app is basic & lacks some features
    • No support for split tunneling
    • Can't activate app via another device

    Overall Apple TV Rating: 8.7/10

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

    • 8.0/10
    • 9.1/10
    • 9.8/10

    Similarly to ExpressVPN, IPVanish also offers a native tvOS VPN app, which delivered fast download speeds and good unblocking results.

    While IPVanish’s app isn’t as well-designed as ExpressVPN’s, the VPN service is considerably cheaper. On a two-year plan it costs $2.19 per month versus ExpressVPN’s $6.67 per month on a 15-month subscription.

    The IPVanish VPN app for Apple TV

    Cheapest Price$2.19/mo over 27 months See all plans
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection95Mbps
    Dedicated tvOS AppYes
    Countries with Servers53
    Support24/7 Live Chat
    Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days

    tvOS App Is Simple to Set Up & Use

    The fact IPVanish is has an app available in the tvOS App Store made it far easier to use and set up the VPN compared to many of the other VPNs we evaluated.

    We particularly appreciated searching for a server location using Siri on the remote.

    We also favorited certain server locations and pinned them to the app’s home screen.

    In doing so, we avoided scrolling through a large server list using the Apple TV’s remote.

    Having said that, ExpressVPN’s server locations grouping by continent is a lot more effective to find specific countries.

    Annoyingly, we also couldn’t activate the app via another device and had to insert our login details via our remote.

    Streams Geo-Blocked Apps in HD Quality

    Using IPVanish on our Apple TV, we consistently accessed US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, and several other streaming services.

    IPVanish’s international download speed loss of just 12% resulted in Full HD and 4K streaming without any buffering.

    But, IPVanish doesn’t unblock as many video apps as ExpressVPN. For instance, we couldn’t make it work with Max (HBO) and Prime Video.

    Apple TV App Lacks Some Functionality

    Though user-friendly, we were disappointed with the lack of features on IPVanish’s tvOS app compared to its other applications.

    While the app’s Settings menu is accessible, it only allows you to log out of your account.

    Also, Only the older IKEv2 protocol is available, with no support for advanced protocols such as WireGuard or OpenVPN.

    Moreover, weren’t able to configure split tunneling, a kill switch, and all other security features.

  3. 3. Atlas VPN: Best Free VPN for Apple TV

    Offers a tvOS app and works with US Netflix, despite being completely free to use.

    Atlas VPN mobile appVisit Atlas VPN

    • 100% free with no payment details required
    • Dedicated Apple TV app
    • Unblocks US Netflix, Max & Disney+
    • Fast download speeds for high quality video

    • Restricted to a 5GB monthly data cap
    • Limited readability on tvOS app due to text color issues
    • Doesn’t work with streaming apps outside of the US
    • No live chat support on free version

    Overall Apple TV Rating: 4.9/10

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

    • 7.0/10
    • 3.0/10
    • 8.7/10

    Atlas VPN Free is the best free VPN you can get for Apple TV. Rarely for a completely free VPN, it offers a dedicated tvOS app, and it unblocks some US-based streaming services, including Netflix.

    Atlas VPN's free app for Apple TV

    Cheapest PriceFree
    Download SpeediDownload SpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection95Mbps
    Dedicated tvOS AppYes
    Countries with Servers3
    SupportEmail Support

    tvOS App Is Functional but Less Easy to Use

    Atlas VPN is one of the only free VPNs to provide a native Apple TV app, meaning you won’t have to use Smart DNS or other complex workarounds.

    However, the interface is poor compared to its other applications. We were frustrated as the color of some text is similar to the navy background color, hindering readability. Thankfully, the server labels are in white, making it much easier to read.

    While the app lacks some user-friendly features found in alternatives like ExpressVPN and IPVanish, such as server favorites and continent grouping, this is less of an issue for the free version of Atlas VPN. The only two servers you’ll likely want to use on Apple TV, the US streaming servers, are quick and easy to access from the home screen.

    The app also doesn’t make it clear which VPN protocol it’s using, and even its support department didn’t have an answer when we contacted it. But based on its other apps, we suspect it’s IKEv2 or WireGuard, which are both safe.

    Works with Some US Streaming Apps

    In our tests, Atlas VPN successfully unblocked Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Max, and Hulu. We just needed to make sure we were connecting to the streaming servers, as the general ones did not work.

    With the fast download speeds we experienced on Atlas VPN’s free servers, videos loaded in full resolution and we didn’t encounter any buffering or delays.

    Atlas VPN Free Apple TV App

    Atlas VPN on Apple TV.

    Disappointingly, we weren’t able to access any other geo-blocked content using the VPN’s Netherlands or Singapore server locations. We’d like the VPN to improve this in a future update to match other free VPNs, like PrivadoVPN and Windscribe.

    Free Version Comes with Limitations

    The free version of Atlas VPN imposes many constraints. Firstly, it only allows you to access 3 server locations, which is 103 fewer than ExpressVPN.

    Using Atlas VPN, we were unable to get an IP address from many popular countries, like the UK and Japan.

    Plus, data usage is also capped at 5GB per month. We could only stream two hours of video on our Apple TV before using up all of our data allowance.

Other Apple TV VPNs We Considered

Out of the 65 VPNs we tested for Apple TV, only three met our strict standards.

Below is a summary of why you should avoid using some popular VPNs for Apple TV.

Private Internet Access

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 AirPlay, to use the VPN with your Apple TV.

PureVPN

What we don’t like: Although PureVPN has a dedicated app for Apple TV, it didn’t make our shortlist as it doesn’t work with US Netflix and it logs too much user data.

Proton VPN

What we don’t like: Proton VPN is comparatively expensive. It also doesn’t have a Smart DNS tool, so router setup or AirPlay are your only options. Its free version also doesn’t work with any streaming apps.

Hotspot Shield

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

TunnelBear

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.

tvOS App vs Smart DNS vs Router Setup

Dedicated tvOS VPN applications are much easier to use and often more effective than previous workarounds to use a VPN on Apple TV.

During our hands-on testing, it took us on average five minutes to set up a VPN application on our Apple TV.

In contrast, router-based VPN configurations took 30 minutes, while Smart DNS setup required 10.

The table below highlights the advantages of using a VPN app over these alternative (older) methods:

VPN Set-up Method Set-Up Difficulty Set-Up Time Server Locations US Netflix Compatibility
VPN App Easy 5 mins Many Yes
Smart DNS Moderate 10 mins Limited Yes
AirPlay Easy 5 mins Many No
Install VPN on Router Hard 30 mins Many Yes

How We Test & Rate VPNs for Apple TV

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

Our Apple TV VPN ratings are calculated using this criteria:

  • Apple TV App (50% of overall rating): The availability and usability of the VPN app on the tvOS App Store.
  • Streaming (30% of overall rating): The VPN’s ability to access geo-restricted streaming apps, like US Netflix and Hulu.
  • Speed (20% of overall rating): The VPN’s capacity to maintain sufficient speeds for HD and 4K streaming.

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

VPNs with a data cap receive a reduction to their overall rating.

Here’s a more detailed explanation of all of our Apple TV testing criteria:

1. Apple TV App: 50%

By offering a dedicated Apple TV app, you can use the VPN without performing any complicated workarounds.

For every VPN that offers one, we assess how easy the app is to use, as well as its functionality.

We firstly check to see how simple it is to sign in to your account. We prefer VPNs that offer sign in through a code, rather than having to type out your email address and password using the remote.

The app’s interface should be adapted for the Siri Remote, with options like “favorites” for quick connections to popular server locations.

Finally, we check if the app allows you to configure settings and customize the experience. We value VPNs offering support for advanced protocols like WireGuard.

2. Streaming: 30%

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.

3. Speed: 20%

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.

Data Cap Penalty: Up to 50% Reduction

Free VPNs often set data limits to encourage users to upgrade to paid subscription plans.

Since streaming on Apple TV can consume a significant amount of data, our methodology favors VPNs with generous or unlimited data allowance.

We apply the following penalties to the VPN’s Apple TV rating based on its data cap:

  • Unlimited bandwidth: No deduction to the overall rating
  • 10GB per month: -20% to the overall rating
  • 500MB per day: -25% to the overall rating
  • 5GB per month: -30% to the overall rating
  • 1GB per month: -35% to the overall rating
  • 200MB per day: -40% to the overall rating
  • 500MB per month: -50% to the overall rating

Importantly, we no longer factor in workarounds like Smart DNS and router compatibility in our Apple TV ratings. That’s because they are inferior solutions to using native tvOS VPN apps, as we’ve highlighted in this guide.

FAQs

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 Max.