|Compatible with a wide range of streaming services
|Complicated setup process
|Full VPN encryption for security
|Requires a spare Windows or Mac computer
|Uses existing computing hardware, saving costs
|Performance depends on computer’s capabilities
If you don’t have a VPN-compatible router you can set up a virtual router or mobile hotspot using a desktop computer.
Essentially, a virtual router is just a device on your network that can share your internet (and VPN) connection with other devices.
Unfortunately you can’t share a VPN connection from your phone.
Once you’ve got the VPN up and running on the laptop, any device connected to the virtual router or mobile hotspot will benefit from the same protection and coverage.
Just be sure to connect your Apple TV to that newly-created hotspot, rather than your home WiFi, and it’s all set.
Here’s How to Create a Mobile Hotspot on Windows:
- Install your chosen VPN service onto your Windows 10 computer, but don’t connect to a VPN server yet.
- Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile hotspot and toggle Mobile hotspot to On.
- Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Change adapter options. Right-click on [VPN server provider name] Tap Adapter and select Properties.
- Under the tab labeled Sharing check the box that says Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.
- Now select the hotspot you created from the drop-down menu entitled Home networking connection and click OK.
- Open up the VPN app on your Windows 10 computer and select OpenVPN as the VPN protocol (if there is an option to). Connect to the VPN server location of your choice.
- Finally connect your Apple TV to your new mobile hotspot and enjoy encrypted streaming.
To disconnect from the mobile hotspot, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile hotspot and toggle Mobile hotspot to Off.
If you’d like to use a macOS device to share a VPN connection with your Apple TV instead, read on.
Here’s How to Create a Mobile Hotspot on Mac:
You can turn your MacBook or iMac into a mobile hotspot in order to share the VPN connection with your Apple TV, but it’s a little more restrictive than the Windows setup.
You can only connect via the PPTP VPN protocol or L2TP. If your VPN doesn’t support these protocols you can’t use this method.
PPTP is also a very insecure VPN protocol, and can be hacked in minutes. We wouldn’t recommend using L2TP either as it has some security flaws, too.
Only use this method if you are unable to protect your Apple TV using any of the other installation methods recommended in this guide.
We’ll show you how to set up VPN connection sharing using L2TP as this is more secure than PPTP:
- Ensure that your MacBook or iMac is connected via ethernet cable (not WiFi).
- Set up an L2TP VPN manually by clicking on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen and select System Preferences.
- Click on the Network icon and then on the + symbol to add a new VPN service.
- Select VPN from the Interface drop-down menu, L2TP over IPSec from the VPN Type menu, and then type in your chosen name for the VPN connection next to Service Name. Click Create.
- Log into your VPN account on the VPN website and find your username, password, and server address for L2TP manual configuration.
- Go back to the Network menu and select Default from the Configuration drop-down menu. Copy and paste the server address into the next field, and your L2TP username into the Account Name field.
- Check the box that says Show VPN status in menu bar. This means that you’ll easily be able to see whether the VPN is connected or not by looking at the menu bar.
- Now click on Authentication Settings and enter your L2TP password in the password field. Enter the L2TP shared secret into the Shared Secret field, and click OK.
- Click Advanced, check the box labeled Send all traffic over VPN connection, and click OK.
- Click Apply.
- Now you should click Connect to connect to the VPN server. The Status will show as Connected.
- Go back to the System Preferences menu and click Sharing.
- Select Internet Sharing and share your connection from the L2TP VPN connection you just created to computers using WiFi.
- Click WiFi Options and enter a Network Name of your choosing. Leave Channel as the default, put Security to WPA2 Personal, and choose a password for your network. Click OK.
- Go back to the Sharing menu and check Internet Sharing box. When the prompt pops up click Start.
- Connect your Apple TV to the new network to encrypt your internet traffic.
You can disable the mobile hotspot by going to System Preferences > Sharing and uncheck the box labeled Internet Sharing.
Then go to System Preferences > Network and click on your L2TP VPN profile. Click Disconnect.
As you’ve seen, using a virtual router or mobile hotspot to protect your Apple TV is a long and intricate process.
It’s definitely not for beginners.