5 Best VPNs for Apple TV

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Apple TVs are among the best in the market, and there’s a lot of good content on their corresponding Apple TV+ channel. But to truly unlock the full potential of your Apple TV,  ExpressVPN is the best.

Why ExpressVPN? It packs incredible streaming speeds, is compatible with Apple devices, and has SmartDNS. But there’s more. Other alternatives that made the cut include NordVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost, and IPVanish.

So, if you just got an Apple TV or subscribed to Apple TV+ and want to get the most out of it, you’re in the right place.

By the end, you’ll know how to set up VPN routers or use AirPlay to stream on your Apple TV. So drop everything you’re doing, get comfortable, and read this to the end to find out more.

Trouble Streaming on Apple TV? Here Are the 5 Best VPNs

Are you watching something captivating and in a rush to get back to it? Here is a quick look at the best VPNs to boost your Apple TV performance.

  1. ExpressVPN – Best Overall Plus Apple System Integration
  2. NordVPN – Amazing Streaming Speeds + Reliable Unblocking Abilities
  3. Surfshark – Unlimited Device Connections + Most Affordable
  4. CyberGhost – Streaming Dedicated Servers + Large Server Network
  5. IPVanish – Great Router Compatibility + Easy Setup

Now, despite all these being premium VPNs, they also all bring something unique to my list. It’s time to find out how they hold up to the litmus test.

The Best VPNs for Apple TV

And now to the meat of the matter.

The tests for this roundup were thorough, so all Apple TV users are guaranteed to get the best VPN recommendations.

Note: For all my speed tests, I used base internet speeds of 30Mbps.

Let’s roll!

ExpressVPN - Best Overall Plus Apple System Integration

As I already expressed, ExpressVPN is one of the best Apple TV VPNs.

But how did it perform in the tests? Here’s a detailed breakdown.

Apple System Integration

streaming movie with expressvpn while displaying available location servers

Did you know you can use your Apple TV with all your other Apple devices? This is why you need a VPN that works with iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Luckily, ExpressVPN does!

These native apps ensure you can use AirPlay to mirror content directly from your VPN encrypted devices to your Apple TV.

It’s even compatible with Apple’s latest chips (M1 & M2).

However, with only five simultaneous device connections, ExpressVPN lags behind every other option on this list, especially Sufshark.

This is fine if you live alone and use less than 5 Apple devices.

However, it’s not efficient if you have a big family that wants to watch Apple TV+ on their own devices.

Availability of Smart DNS

expressvpn tvos or appletv support banner

Unlike mobile devices with native VPN apps, you can’t install a VPN directly on your Apple TV. This is why you need ExpressVPN’s SmartDNS feature, MediaStreamer.

MediaStreamer lets you access restricted content directly on your Apple TV. Plus, compared to Surfshark, NordVPN, and CyberGhost’s SmartDNS feature, MediaStreamer is easy to work with.

In another section, I’ll provide a guideline for setting it up for your Apple TV.

Router Compatibility

expressvpn router compatibility banner graphics

The final way to bypass content blocks on your Apple TV is to get an ExpressVPN-compatible router.

Fortunately, ExpressVPN works with many routers, including Netgear, Linksys, and Asus. The best part? Most routers come with ExpressVPN pre-installed. You can find the complete list of ExpressVPN routers here.

Streaming Speeds

expressvpn streaming speed test results

ExpressVPN is fast. I registered an average speed of 26Mbps, coming a close third to Surfshark and NordVPN. I watched See on my Apple TV using the highest quality possible. The quality was sharp, and no buffering or stuttering was registered.

Additionally, you’re not just limited to Apple TV+ content.

You can stream HBO Max, Paramount Plus, Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer, and even music sites like Qobuz and Pandora Radio.

Price

The downside – ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive VPNs, which can discourage the average user. However, use these fantastic discounts to get a premium subscription at a lower price.

Pros

Cons

NordVPN - Amazing Streaming Speeds + Reliable Unblocking Abilities

Next up is NordVPN. The speeds are impressive, it has Smart DNS, and it’s compatible with several router brands. Here’s how it fared in the tests

Apple System Integration

streaming movie on nordvpn while displaying available location servers

Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN is compatible with all portable Apple devices. You can therefore use AirPlay to mirror content from any of your encrypted devices to the Apple TV.

Additionally, NordVPN goes further than ExpressVPN by allowing 6 simultaneous connections. This pales compared to Surfshark, but you can still get a lot done with six slots.

NordVPN is also compatible with Apple’s M1 and M2 chips.

So if you own any latest Apple device running on these, NordVPN is a perfect fit.

Availability of Smart DNS

NordVPN has a Smart DNS feature that you can use to enjoy Apple TV+. Since SmartTVs don’t have native VPN apps, using NordVPN’s Smart DNS feature sends all your requests through NordVPN’s DNS servers, hiding your real IP. This allows you to watch what you want directly on your Apple TV.

However, understand that Smart DNS doesn’t protect you from snooping like a VPN. But you’ll get better speeds and the ability to bypass restrictions without the heavy lifting of a full-fledged VPN.

Alternatively, just like ExpressVPN, you can skip using Smart DNS by choosing AirPlay.

Router Compatibility

nordvpn logo and router minimalist graphics

If setting up Smart DNS or using AirPlay isn’t your style, try a VPN router. NordVPN is compatible with Asus, Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, etc.

They come with NordVPN already installed, saving you the hassle and time.

However, NordVPN dropped support for PPTP and L2TP/IPsec connections in 2018. Therefore, many routers that used to work with NordVPN may not function properly. So, before making any NordVPN router purchase, ask first.

Streaming Speeds

nordvpn streaming speed test results

NordVPN is a fast VPN, but I didn’t expect it to edge out ExpressVPN.

The difference wasn’t big, though, as I registered average speeds of 27Mbps.

For the speed test, I used random servers while streaming the new alien thriller called Outer Range, starring Josh Brolin (whose last appearance on any TV show was in 2012). The streaming was smooth to the end.

One main reason for these fantastic speeds could be the NordLynx protocol. It’s significantly faster than all the other available NordVPN protocols while providing extra security.

Price

NordVPN isn’t as expensive as ExpressVPN but isn’t the cheapest either. Fortunately, you can get it at discounted rates through this link.

Pros

Cons

Surfshark - Unlimited Device Connections + Most Affordable

Surfshark’s most redeemable feature is unlimited simultaneous connections. I don’t need to tell you how convenient this is for something like AirPlay. Here’s how it fared in the tests.

Apple System Integration

streaming movie with surfshark while displaying available location servers

Surfshark is compatible with all portable Apple devices.

This includes iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks. You can set up Surfshark on any of these devices and mirror what you need to watch on your Apple TV or create an encrypted hotspot.

Moreover, you can take advantage of the AirPlay feature by combining it with unlimited simultaneous connections.

This is the ideal VPN for people with lots of friends and family members. Everybody gets a piece of the action (provided the internet speeds can handle that many devices).

Availability of Smart DNS

locating get started button on smart dns feature using surfshark

Surfshark has a reliable Smart DNS feature. It’ll change your Apple TV DNS address to a different one hosted by Surfshark DNS servers in the US.

Like what NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer, this won’t encrypt your traffic or change your IP address (it only alters your DNS addresses).

The setup process is a bit complicated, but you can find the detailed guide here. The good news is that you’ll get top-shelf speeds for 4K streaming on your Apple TV.

Router Compatibility

surfshark vpn and router on desktop graphics

If both AirPlay and Smart DNS don’t cut it for you, how about a Surfshark-compatible router? Some common routers work very well with Surfshark, including Asus, DD-WRT, and Tomato routers.

However, as much as this provides blanket encryption for everything under your roof, the installation process is a little more involving.

Unless you’re good with networking, you’ll need the services of an expert to get things properly configured.

Streaming Speeds

surfshark streaming speed test results

Surfshark posted the fastest speeds on this listThe margin wasn’t huge compared to NordVPN and ExpressVPN, but I averaged speeds of about 28Mbps. This was impressive but not surprising. Streaming HD content was as easy as ABC.

And speaking of ABC, I had no idea it was available as a channel on Apple TV+. I streamed a bit of Grey’s Anatomy for the test, and everything worked fine. But I got to ask, will this show ever end?

Price

Surfshark is the most affordable VPN on this list.

But you can still get it cheaper by taking advantage of these fantastic discounts.

Pros

Cons

CyberGhost - Streaming Dedicated Servers + Large Server Network

CyberGhost isn’t known for overwhelming speeds (don’t get me wrong, it gets the job done). Still, it has one thing that blows the rest out of the water: a large network of over 8000 servers.

Let’s have a quick look at how it performed in the tests.

Apple System Integration

streaming bbc with cyberghost while displaying available servers

Like other alternatives on this list, CyberGhost is compatible with iPhones, iPads, and Macs. With this level of integration, you can AirPlay content directly from your devices to your Apple TV.

Furthermore, CyberGhost allows up to 7 device connections, a little higher than NordVPN and ExpressVPN. That should serve your needs if you have company around.

Availability of Smart DNS

cyberghost for smart tv banner

CyberGhost has Smart DNS. You have to set it up from the settings by entering the DNS corresponding with the streaming service you want to unblock and watch on your Apple TV. This grants you the speeds you need to watch your favorite shows without being detected.

But you’ll still need the protection of your VPN since a Smart DNS doesn’t offer encryption. Good thing it comes bundled up with the VPN itself.

So enjoy your shows without worries.

Router Compatibility

cyberghost vpn router banner

CyberGhost is compatible with DD-WRT routers, Netgear, Linksys, Asus, and Tomato routers. They all come with CyberGhost installed already, so it’s a matter of plug and play.

The biggest benefit you’ll get from this is the blanket coverage of all your devices, including Apple TV. This effectively eliminates the need for Smart DNS or AirPlay.

Streaming Speeds

cyberghost streaming speed test results

As I said at the beginning, CyberGhost isn’t a speed powerhouse like Surfshark, ExpressVPN, or NordVPN. I averaged speeds of about 23Mbps, which isn’t far from the more prominent players.

The good news is that you’ll probably score higher if you have faster base internet speeds.

I watched The Outlaws for the speed test, and the experience was smooth.

I used different servers to ensure it wasn’t a fluke – it wasn’t.

CyberGhost gets the job done.

In addition, CyberGhost is the only one on this list with streaming dedicated servers. You don’t have to waste time finding the best server for your Apple TV+ streaming. So give it a try and see how things play out for you!

Price

CyberGhost is relatively cheap and shouldn’t dent your pocket.

You can use this link to get your hands on juicy discounts before the offer runs out.

Pros

Cons

IPVanish - Great Router Compatibility + Easy Setup

IPVanish website

IPVanish has the best score in router compatibility, but that isn’t the only area where it excelled. This is how it performed in the tests.

Apple System Integration

streaming movie with ipvanish while displaying available servers

IPVanish works with all mobile Apple devices and Mac.

The installation process is straightforward. With this, you can use AirPlay to mirror everything you need onto your Apple TV for that crisp and clear viewing. You can get around any censorship with this without having to turn into a software developer overnight.

Furthermore, like Surfshark, IPVanish has no limit on the number of devices you can hook up on the same account.

So, you get more wiggling room when mirroring content on your Apple TV. Yet another perfect match for users who want to set up Apple TV connections for multiple people.

Availability of Smart DNS

chat about smart dns availability on ipvanish

IPVanish doesn’t offer Smart DNS. I verified this by asking technical support about the feature, and they confirmed it.

Now, this isn’t a big blow to how you can use Apple TV.

After all, you still have AirPlay. But it’s always nice to have that Smart DNS option just in case other methods fail.

Router Compatibility

ipvanish vpn router banner

With Smart DNS out of the way, the good news is that IPVanish is compatible with multiple routers. Based on the information I gleaned from their website, IPVanish partnered explicitly with FlashRouters to design highly optimized routers for IPVanish.

They come pre-installed and pre-configured, so all you need is to get your hands on a router, and you’re set.

Streaming Speeds

ipvanish streaming speed test results

Of all the options on this list, IPVanish was the slowest.

I averaged speeds of about 14Mbps, which was far from what I managed with the other four options. However, 14Mbps is still plenty to get things rolling. There also wasn’t any buffering.

Changing servers didn’t yield a big difference, but the critical bit is that this didn’t affect the performance of the Apple TV in a significant way. So don’t let the low speeds put you off.

Pricing

ipvanish subscription prices

IPVanish is also among the cheapest VPNs, boding well for anyone looking for a cheap and convenient option. As usual, we also offer you great discounts through this link.

Pros

Cons

Choosing a VPN for Apple TV: Tips to Consider

Now, how do you make the final decision on what VPN to go with? Here are the factors you should keep in mind.

  • Apple System Integration: You won’t just be dealing with your Apple TV alone. As much as they’re among the top TVs in the market, there isn’t any native VPN app you can install on them. This means you need other methods of getting the best out of your TV, so look for a VPN that works with iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other Apple devices. Fortunately, all the VPNs reviewed here will get you this.
  • Availability of Smart DNS: A Smart DNS isn’t a make or break feature, but it sure helps if it’s available. You have three main ways of accessing restricted content through your Apple TV: AirPlay, VPN router, or Smart DNS. Having the freedom to switch to any of the three when one doesn’t work is a factor you should pay attention to. So go for a VPN that has Smart DNS.
  • Router Compatibility: Not many routers are VPN compatible, but a significant number of reputable router brands allow direct VPN installation. These usually come pre-configured to give all your devices an encrypted connection.
  • Streaming Speeds: Streaming speeds are significant where Apple TV is concerned. Since it supports 4K content, you need a service that grants you the fastest speeds without buffering or lags. Surfshark, NordVPN, and ExpressVPN are the fastest for this.
  • Simultaneous Device Connections: The ability to connect to as many devices as possible will make using options like AirPlay Additionally, more device connections mean more flexibility when you have friends and families who need a VPN for their Apple TV.

How to Set up a VPN on a Router?

Some routers come with the VPN services installed and configured.

But there are others where you may have to fold up your sleeves and handle on your own. Here’s a detailed ExpressVPN router setup guide for Asus.

  1. Turn on your Asus router and connect it to your device. A computer is recommended.
  2. If this is your first time, open your browser and type 192.168.1.1 into the address bar. Follow the onscreen instructions and leave the browser window open once the setup is done.
  3. Now go to https://www.expressvpn.com/setup#router. Log into your account.
  4. This will open a page with routers. Select the Asus model you have from the list, then download the firmware.
  5. You’ll need an activation code. Copy it from your dashboard.
  6. Then go to the Asus dashboard you left open earlier. Enter your password to sign in.
  7. Choose Connectivity, then select Choose File. Select the firmware you downloaded in step 4 and then Start.
  8. You’ll be prompted with questions regarding the installation process. Tap Yes on all of them.
  9. Once the installation is done, click reboot to restart the router. Congratulations, your router is now configured with ExpressVPN.

How to Configure SmartDNS (MediaStreamer) for Apple TV

ExpressVPN’s Smart DNS service is called the MediaStreamer, which is how you can set it up for your Apple TV. You need at least a 4th generation Apple TV and an active ExpressVPN subscription.

  1. Register your IP address on the ExpressVPN page.
  2. Login into your account to get your MediaStreamer server IP address.
  3. Start configuring location settings on your Apple TV.
  4. Set up the DNS servers on your Apple TV. Write down the DNS address for future use.
  5. You can now start streaming Apple TV+ shows on your TV. For reference, follow the more detailed steps in the video above.

How to Configure and Use Airplay With Apple TV

And now, for the final part, setting up AirPlay on Apple TV.

Here are the steps to follow.

  1. Start by connecting your device (iPhone, iPad, or Mac) to the same network as your Apple TV.
  2. Search for the content you want to stream, a video of anything.
  3. Now tap the AirPlay button and choose your Apple TV from the available devices.

Summary

  VPN Router Smart DNS AirPlay
Setup Difficulty Hard Easy Easy
US Netflix Yes Yes No
Speed Fast Extremely Fast Fast
Streaming Apps Many Few Several
Additional Costs Yes No No
Hide IP Address Yes No No

Where Is Apple TV Available?

Apple TV is available in the following countries. (Although the content may vary from one country to another.)

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Eswatini, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zimbabwe

FAQ

Using a VPN for Apple TV isn’t illegal. You’re simply routing your internet connection through a VPN server in another country to access geo-blocked content.

However, some countries have strict laws on VPN use.

Check with a local attorney before using a VPN if you’re in one of these countries. Additionally, some streaming platforms (such as Netflix) are cracking down on users accessing content via a VPN. So while it isn’t illegal to use a VPN for Apple TV, you might have difficulty accessing some services with a VPN.

Apple TV+ is a streaming service from Apple that offers original programming, including original shows, movies, and documentaries from big-name Hollywood stars. Meanwhile, Apple TV is a hardware device that allows you to watch various streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

NordVPN is a reliable VPN that works with Apple TV.

First, NordVPN has Smart DNS, allowing your Apple TV to stream censored content directly. Second, NordVPN offers blazing fast streaming speeds.

You won’t deal with buffering, and it can comfortably handle 4K streaming with ease.

Third, NordVPN is compatible with other Apple devices, allowing up to 6 simultaneous connections. You can use this to mirror Apple TV+ shows like Severance and Ted Lasso from any NordVPN compatible iPhone/iPad/Mac to your Apple TV.

Surfshark is a popular VPN service that works with Apple TV.

Surfshark offers fast speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and access to a global network of servers. With Surfshark, you can unblock geo-restricted content from around the world, including popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.

Free VPNs can work with Apple TV, but it’s never a good idea to use them due to their limited features and dodgy security and privacy.

A premium VPN like ExpressVPN would be the best choice for Apple TV.

It’s fast, secure, and compatible with other Apple devices.

The best part, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee which means you can try it out risk-free.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Apple TV 4K. It has super-fast connections ideal for handling 4K shows and movies. It’s highly secure and easy to set up.

Plus, it’s compatible with routers and other Apple devices, making it easy to use features like AirPlay. Top of all, it has MediaStreamer, a Smart DNS feature that allows you to directly stream Apple TV+ shows on your TV.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Netflix on Apple TV.

It can unblock the streaming service from anywhere, all thanks to a vast server network, and is extremely fast. It’s also equipped with a Smart DNS feature called MediaStreamer. With this, you don’t need an intermediary device to stream shows on your Apple TV.

Conclusion

Every VPN on my list is reliable for Apple TV and Apple TV+.

However, ExpressVPN is the best. It may cost a lot, but it offers more that may offset the price tag.

Think of the impressive speeds, the reliable Apple integration, and the availability of Smart DNS and router compatibility. These should unlock the full potential of your Apple TV.

As I let you get back to binge-watching your favorite Apple TV+ shows, don’t forget to grab my huge discount on ExpressVPN before it’s too late!

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