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How to Set Up and Use ExpressVPN on Apple TV

By Novak Bozovic / December 27, 2023

Apple's tvOS 17 brought VPN support to Apple TVs. If you have a supported model (Apple TV HD and 4K - 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-generation), you can now use ExpressVPN's native tvOS app. That's the easiest way to set up and use ExpressVPN on Apple TV - but there are also several workarounds at your disposal.

More precisely, you can set up ExpressVPN's MediaStreamer on Apple TV by changing its DNS settings, helping you unblock apps. You can also cast media via AirPlay from another device, install the VPN on a router, or share your VPN connection from your computer. In this guide, we'll cover all those methods, talk about troubleshooting, and answer some FAQs at the end.

How to Set Up ExpressVPN on Apple TV

There are 5 ways to set up ExpressVPN on Apple TV, ranging from installing its native app to sharing your VPN connection from another device. Here are your options:

Method #1: Install ExpressVPN's tvOS App

To install ExpressVPN on Apple TV, you can go with the VPN's native tvOS App, listed on the App Store. Go through the following steps:

1. Sign up for ExpressVPN using your computer and a Web browser.

2. On your Apple TV, launch the App Store.

3. Use the magnifying glass icon to search for ExpressVPN.

Searching for ExpressVPN on tvOS App Store

4. Click 'Get' and then return to the tvOS Home Screen once you download the app.

Downloading ExpressVPN from tvOS App Store

5. Open ExpressVPN and select 'Sign In' (you can use a QR code to sign in).

Sign In to ExpressVPN on tvOS

6. Allow ExpressVPN to collect anonymous information by choosing 'Agree and Continue.'

ExpressVPN Logging on tvOS

7. Select 'Continue' when asked to set up the VPN, followed by 'Allow.'

Adding ExpressVPN Profile to Apple TV

8. Choose if you want to share anonymous analytics with ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN Anonymous Analytics on Apple TV

9. You should now see ExpressVPN's home screen. Use the ON/OFF button to connect to the nearest VPN server and initialize your VPN connection.

ExpressVPN tvOS App Home Screen

10. If you'd like to pick a custom location, select the 'Location' button below the ON/OFF switch. Pick a region on the left-hand side, and pick a location on the right. That's it!

Picking VPN Location ExpressVPN on Apple TV

Method #2: Use ExpressVPN's MediaStreamer on Apple TV

ExpressVPN's MediaStreamer allows you to change your Apple TV's DNS address. That's how you can unblock US-based streaming services outside the US, as well as some UK-based ones (such as BBC iPlayer). Here's how to use ExpressVPN on Apple TV via MediaStreamer:

1. Subscribe to ExpressVPN using your computer and any Web browser.

2. Once you subscribe, return to ExpressVPN’s website and click "My Account" using the top-placed main menu. Access your ExpressVPN account dashboard.

Signing In to ExpressVPN Website

3. Click "DNS Settings." Then, use the "Register My IP Address" button under "IP Address Registration." Also, flip the switch next to "Automatically Register My IP Address."

Register IP for SmartDNS ExpressVPN
IP Registered ExpressVPN MediaStreamer

4. Return to your ExpressVPN dashboard. Click "Set Up Other Devices" and select "Apple TV" on the left. On the right, you'll see your DNS server IP.

ExpressVPN DNS IP for Apple TV

5. We’ll finish this procedure on an Apple TV, so turn to your media streaming device. Navigate to the Settings app. Then, go to Network > Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi Networks Listed Apple TV Interface

6. You should now see a list of Wi-Fi networks. Select the currently active Wi-Fi network. Scroll down until you see the "Configure DNS" field. Select this field. 

Configuring DNS Address on tvOS

7. You will now get to pick from two options, and you need to select "Manual."

Manual Configuration of DNS Server IP on Apple TV

8. Enter your DNS server IP, as shown on ExpressVPN’s website. Double-check if you’ve entered the correct numbers. Then, select "Done."

Add Custom DNS to Apple TV

9. Finally, restart your Apple TV for the DNS changes to take effect. 

Restarting Apple TV from the Settings App

Your Apple TV uses your Apple ID to determine the type of content you can access. If you’ve set your Apple ID country to ‘United States,’ your Apple TV will show the apps and media streaming services available in the USA (even if you’re not in that country).

That’s precisely where ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer comes into play – as it allows you to unblock those apps with ease. 

Method #3: Cast Media to Apple TV Using AirPlay

AirPlay is Apple's video- and audio-casting technology. It lets you play a video on your iPhone or Mac and cast it on your Apple TV. That said, you'll most probably use your iPhone or Mac as the primary device, which opens up the possibility of adding ExpressVPN to that equation.

So, here's how to get ExpressVPN for an Apple TV by relying on AirPlay:

  1. Sign up for ExpressVPN using your computer or phone and any Web browser.
  2. Install ExpressVPN on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
  3. Use ExpressVPN to connect to any of its secure VPN servers.
    Using ExpressVPN to Connect to a US VPN Server
  4. Access your favorite streaming service (via its site or app).
  5. Once you pick a video to stream, you'll get to cast it to your Apple TV via AirPlay.
    Steps to AirPlay From iPhone

As you can see, you'll use ExpressVPN to unblock and access streaming sites on your iPhone or Mac. However, know that not every streaming app supports AirPlay. For example, Netflix no longer supports that technology, but most other apps should work fine.

Method #4: Install ExpressVPN on a Router

By installing ExpressVPN on a router, you can route your household's incoming and outgoing Web traffic through a single point. So, if you set up a VPN connection on your router to a US-based server, all devices in your household will route their data through that server.

As you can imagine, that applies to Apple TV as well. To unblock streaming apps available in a specific country, you need to connect your router to a server in that country. So, here's how to get ExpressVPN on Apple TV by relying on your router:

  1. Subscribe to ExpressVPN using your computer and any Web browser.
  2. Install ExpressVPN on a router (you need a VPN-ready router).
  3. On your Apple TV, go to Settings > Network.
  4. Ensure you're connected to the Internet (using your router's network).
  5. You can now use any streaming app on your Apple TV.

If you're starting from scratch, remember that you need a router that supports VPN connections. If you don't have one, jump to our list of the best VPN routers you can buy today.

Method #5: Share Your VPN Connection from a Computer

You can also get ExpressVPN on an Apple TV by turning your computer into a virtual router. In other words, you can share your VPN connection/network, allowing you to connect your Apple TV to that network. The only downside is that your computer will need to be on constantly.

So, you will need to turn your computer into a virtual router, which is not that difficult to do on Windows or macOS. Here's what that process entails:

  1. Sign up for ExpressVPN using your computer and any Web browser.
  2. Download and install ExpressVPN on your Windows or macOS computer.
  3. Launch the VPN app and go through the initial setup.
  4. Test the VPN to see if it connects to VPN servers without any issues.
  5. You now need to share your ExpressVPN connection from Windows or macOS.
  6. Once your start sharing ExpressVPN, turn to your Apple TV.
  7. Go to Settings > Network and connect to your newly created network.
  8. Your Apple TV will use your VPN connection as long as your computer is turned on.

How to Change Country on Apple TV with ExpressVPN?

Just above, we explained how to route your Apple TV traffic through ExpressVPN's DNS. That means your traffic will go through ExpressVPN's US-based servers. That also means you must change your Apple TV's location manually to access apps available in that country. So, here's how to change your country when using ExpressVPN on Apple TV:

  1. On your Apple TV, go to Settings > iTunes Store > Location.
  2. Now pick your preferred location (go with "United States").
  3. Set up ExpressVPN based on the instructions above.
  4. Restart your Apple TV.
  5. Visit the App Store and check for US-only apps. That's all!

ExpressVPN Not Working with Apple TV? - How to Fix?

If ExpressVPN doesn't work on your Apple TV, you need to check if you've registered your IP correctly and check your Apple TV's Internet connection. Here's more information:

  1. If using MediaStreamer, check if you've registered your IP correctly. Before you can use MediaStreamer, you need to register your IP using ExpressVPN's site. Click 'My Account' and then pick 'DNS.' You'll see if your IP is properly registered. Also, double-check if you've added the correct DNS addresses to your Apple TV.
  2. Check if MediaStreamer works with your streaming apps. There's no definite list of the apps that work with ExpressVPN's MediaStreamer. However, it should work with big-name US-based apps like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Prime Video. If you're trying to unblock a non-US streaming service, MediaStreamer will encounter a roadblock.
  3. If using AirPlay, ensure all devices are connected to the same network. For AirPlay to work, your iPhone/iPad and your Apple TV must be on the same Wi-Fi network. You should also check your AirPlay settings on your Apple TV by going to Settings > AirPlay > Allow Access > Everyone. Lastly, try restarting your devices.

Final Thoughts

The easiest way to use ExpressVPN on Apple TV is to download its native tvOS app. For that method to work, remember that your Apple TV must be on tvOS 17. The native app will give you access to all 3,000+ servers, which means that unblocking any app should be a breeze. Still, as explained in this guide, several workarounds exist as well.

Aside from sharing your VPN connection from a computer, or using AirPlay to cast unblocked content from other devices, setting up ExpressVPN on Apple TV via a router is also a viable option. That's because you'll protect your entire household at once. Speaking of setting up this VPN on more devices, learn more about how to set up ExpressVPN using our central guide.

FAQ

Is Apple TV Region-Locked?

Yes, Apple TV is region-locked. More precisely, your Apple TV will show you the version of the tvOS App Store that corresponds to the country of your Apple ID.

For example, let's say you've registered your Apple ID to an address in the United States. In that case, your Apple TV will work with apps available in the US only.

Is ExpressVPN Compatible with Apple TV?

Yes, ExpressVPN is compatible with Apple TV. To use its MediaStreamer to unblock US-based apps, you need to have a 4th, 5th, or 6th Apple TV generation. You can also sign up for ExpressVPN and download its app on any Apple TV running tvOS 17.

Can I Use ExpressVPN on Apple TV?

Yes, you can use ExpressVPN on Apple TV. If your media streaming device runs tvOS 17, you can download ExpressVPN from the tvOS App Store.

Does ExpressVPN Work with Apple TV?

Yes, ExpressVPN works with Apple TV devices. It offers a native application, but you can also use its SmartDNS (MediaStreamer) and several other workarounds.

Is ExpressVPN on the Apple App Store?

Yes, ExpressVPN is listed on the Apple App Store. As such, it's available for tvOS but also for your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

How Do You Connect Apple TV to ExpressVPN?

To connect your Apple TV to ExpressVPN, you need to download its app from the tvOS App Store. Open the app, complete the initial setup procedure, and connect to a server.

Why Is ExpressVPN Not Working with Netflix on Apple TV?

If Netflix doesn't work on your Apple TV with ExpressVPN, make sure that you use the latest DNS settings provided by this VPN. Also, we recommend using ExpressVPN's native app for tvOS, which gives you a greater variety of Netflix-friendly servers.

That would be all on how to set up ExpressVPN on an Apple TV. We know this can be a confusing topic, so post your questions below using the comments section. Thank you for reading!



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