Apple’s media streaming device (Apple TV) is based on tvOS, which doesn’t support VPN apps. However, there’s nothing to be worried about, as you have several interesting workarounds at your disposal. So, let’s talk about how to set up a VPN on Apple TV in 2021.
When it comes to the available options, you can use a custom DNS, install a VPN on a router, or share your VPN connection from your computer (Windows or macOS). No matter which method you pick, you’ll get to reap numerous benefits that VPNs offer – including unlocking new types of content on your Apple TV.
Before diving any deeper, know that you’ll need a VPN subscription no matter which one of the following installation methods you pick. Due to its high level of customization and support for Apple TV, we recommend picking ExpressVPN.
Based on our hands-on testing of dozens of VPNs so far, we strongly believe ExpressVPN to be the best VPN available right now. However, you can also review other options by checking our overview of the best VPNs for Apple TV. However, keep in mind that you might need to switch to an installation method that your chosen VPN supports if you go with some other option.
Keep in mind that you can install a VPN on just about any device. That would help you protect your data in your home, as well as on-the-go. So, check out the following VPN installation guides.
TechNadu’s Step-by-Step Guide: Here’s How to Set up a VPN on Apple TV in 2021!
Finally, there are 3 different methods to install a VPN on your Apple TV, as described just below.
- Method #1: Set Up a VPN on Apple TV Using Custom DNS
- Method #2: Set Up a VPN on Apple TV Using Your Router
- Method #3: Set Up a VPN on Apple TV By Sharing a VPN Connection
Method #1: Set Up a VPN on Apple TV Using Custom DNS
This method is supported only by some VPNs, so make sure to pick the best one for the job. Also, keep in mind that setting up a custom DNS on your Apple TV won’t encrypt your Web connection data – but it will unlock new media streaming services.
There are two equally important parts of this installation method. First, you need a custom DDNS hostname (we recommend using Dynu for this purpose). And then, you need a VPN that will give you the necessary information for your Apple TV’s DNS settings. As already mentioned, in this case, our suggestion would be ExpressVPN.
1. Get Your Custom DDNS Hostname
Unless you have a dedicated (static) IP address (usually priced extra), your ISP is offering a pool of IP addresses. So, every time you connect to your VPN, you get a new IP – and these are called dynamic IP addresses.
Since your IP is always changing, you need to get a custom DDNS hostname, so that your VPN can recognize your device all the time.
- There are many free-of-charge DDNS hostname services out there. We recommend going with Dynu as it provides more than you’ll ever need in an easy-to-use package. So, go ahead and open Dynu’s website. Then, click on “Create Account” in the top-right corner of the page.
- Make sure to fill out the required fields you’ll see on your screen. You’ll need to input your name, username, password, and email address. Once done, check your inbox and verify your account. Now, make sure that you’re on Dynu’s website and that you’re logged in to your account.
- Select “DDNS Services” from your account’s control panel. Then, click on the “+Add” button on the right-hand side of the page. Unless you have a hostname, feel free to create one (free of charge). Once done, Dynu will take care of the rest of the process. After a few moments, you’ll get to see an overview of your new hostname.
- While checking your hostname’s overview, make sure to note a few important bits of information. You’ll see your hostname and your IPv4 IP address. Feel free to disable any additional options found here by toggling them to “OFF.”
Your new hostname is now ready to be used. It means that you can proceed with this installation method by continuing to read the following segment.
2. Update DNS Settings on Your Apple TV
The next step consists of registering your hostname with ExpressVPN and then editing specific settings on your Apple TV. So, let’s continue setting up a VPN on your Apple TV.
- Go to ExpressVPN’s website and log in to your account. Then, look at the left side of the page and click on “DNS Settings.” Look for the field named “Dynamic DNS Registration” and input your hostname there. Finally, click on “Save Hostname.”
- Return to your ExpressVPN account dashboard, and this time click on “Set Up Other Devices.” Look at the left side of the window and click on “Apple TV.”
- On the right side, you will see your DNS server IP. You need to instruct your Apple TV to use this specific IP address, so make sure to keep this page open.
- Using your Apple TV, navigate to Settings > Network. Select your Web connection there and proceed to review its settings. Find the field named “Configure DNS” and click to open this option. Choose “Manual,” and you’ll be asked to enter your DNS address. Finally, copy the IP from ExpressVPN’s website and select “Done.”
- All there’s left is to restart your media streamer. Go to Settings > System > Restart. After a few moments, your new IP should be applied, and you should be able to watch new types of content on your Apple TV.
Method #2: Set Up a VPN on Apple TV Using Your Router
By installing a VPN on your router, you can protect all your Web-connected devices at once. Also, this will count as a single device toward your subscription limit, so you can still use your VPN on-the-go.
To install a VPN on your router, you first need a VPN service that supports this kind of setup. Our strong recommendation would be to use ExpressVPN, as it supports a wide range of routers. And on top of that, this VPN comes with plenty of handy guides explaining how to install and run this VPN on your router, no matter which model you might own.
Keep in mind that installing a VPN on a router is a process that takes some time. It’s not an overly complicated process, but it requires your full attention.
To help you with this, we’ve put together a series of helpful links and articles, providing you with everything you need to go through this installation process with ease.
First of all, you’ll need a capable router that supports running a VPN service. We recommend reading about how to choose a VPN router, and then you can proceed to check our hands-on recommendations. Here are the best VPN routers overall, as well as the best DD-WRT routers right now. If you’re on a tight budget, check out the best DD-WRT routers under $100.
In case you didn’t know, DD-WRT is a type of custom firmware that’s highly suitable for running a VPN service. For additional info, here’s our explanation of DD-WRT.
Once you obtain your VPN subscription and once you get a VPN-compatible router, it’s time to combine these two. To learn how this is done – here’s our freshly updated guide on installing a VPN on a router.
Method #3: Set Up a VPN on Apple TV By Sharing a VPN Connection
This installation method requires you to have a Windows or macOS computer. Also, you can be connected to your router wirelessly. Your computer will act as a virtual router in this case, and it needs to stay powered on while using this connection on Apple TV.
We will show you how to share your VPN connection by turning your computer into a virtual router. Once set up, you can connect your Apple TV to this virtual network and reap the benefits that your VPN offers.
However, keep in mind that you need a powerful and fast-performing VPN for this purpose, such as ExpressVPN. Also, keep in mind that you need to have ExpressVPN already running on your Windows PC. With that said, here’s how to set up a VPN on Windows.
How to Share Your VPN Connection on Windows 10
In the past, Windows users were forced to use a command-line interface to enable this option. However, Windows 10 comes with an easy-to-use interface that helps you create a mobile hotspot. So, here are our step-by-step instructions.
- Launch the Start menu by clicking on the Windows logo in the bottom-right corner of your screen.
- Then, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile Hotspot. As you can imagine, you need to have an active Web connection at this point.
- Then, enable the mobile hotspot by switching the toggle you’ll see to “ON.”
- Underneath the toggle, you’ll see a message saying “Share My Internet Connection From,” and you need to pick “Wi-Fi” there.
- Then, you need to set a new network name and password, so click on “Edit.” Under “Related Settings,” make sure to select “Change adapter options.”
- You will now see the “Network Connections” window. You need to note the name of the connection you’ve just created. Then, right-click on “ExpressVPN Tap Adapter” and select “Properties.”
- When you select the “Sharing” tab, make sure to check the box saying “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.” From the dropdown menu, select the name of the connection you’ve just created. Click “OK” to save this configuration.
You’re now free to connect to the newly created Web connection by going to your Apple TV’s settings. Once you do so, you’ll get to encrypt your Internet connection and access new types of media streaming services.
How to Share Your Internet Connection on macOS
In case you use macOS, you can also share your Web connection – and then use Apple TV to get VPN-related benefits. However, keep in mind that you need to have an L2TP/IPSec VPN connection on your Mac as a requirement. To learn more, here’s how to set up a VPN on a Mac (make sure to go through the second method mentioned there).
- Go to System Preferences and then click on “Sharing.”
- Take a look at the left side of this window and click on “Internet Sharing.”
- Now, make sure to select your VPN connection in the “Share your connection from” field. It means that you should already have an L2TP/IPSec connection on your Mac – so once again, check out how to set up a VPN on Mac. Then, select “Wi-Fi” for the “To computers using” field.
- Finally, click on “Wi-Fi Options” and then create a new name, leave the channel as default, select “WPA2 Personal” for the “Password” field, and create your password.
- Once you set everything up, click on the box next to “Internet Sharing.” Your Mac will ask if you’d like to initialize Internet sharing, so confirm your decision.
You can now use your Apple TV to connect to the newly created Web connection. Remember that you need to have your Mac running and ensure that you’re using your L2TP/IPSec connection. Double-check if you’re sharing your Internet connection by going to System Preferences > Sharing > Internet Sharing.
So, you’ve reached the end of our guide on how to set up a VPN on Apple TV. We hope that you’ll manage to go through this procedure without any issues. However, if any problems arise, feel free to let us know by posting your comment below.