How to Set Up a VPN on Apple TV in 2023

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 workarounds at your disposal. That means you can still set up a VPN on your Apple TV - just differently than usual, letting you unblock new media streaming apps.

When it comes to the available options, you can use a custom DNS (the most straightforward method available), install a VPN on a router, or share your VPN connection from your computer (you can use a Windows or macOS computer for that purpose).

Of course, we're here to explain all those options in-depth. Keep reading to learn more!

How to Set Up a VPN on Apple TV

To get a VPN on your Apple TV, you'll need to pick a workaround aligned with your level of technical knowledge. So, here are the 3 best ways to install a VPN on your Apple TV:

Method #1: Set Up a VPN on Apple TV Using Custom DNS

Most VPN services feature 'SmartDNS,' letting you change your location and unblock streaming apps. Keep in mind that your data won't be encrypted that way, so it's not the same as using a VPN. However, this method is highly suitable for media streaming devices.

Here's how to configure your VPN's 'SmartDNS' and set it up on your Apple TV:

1. Start by setting up a DDNS service. So, use any Web browser to visit Dynu's website.

2. Click "Create Account" and register for a free Dynu account.

Link to Account Creation on Dynu Website

3. You'll now receive a verification link to your email inbox. Go ahead and use it.

4. If needed, log in to your Dynu account. Then pick "DDNS Services."

Creating a New DDNS Service

5. Click "+Add" to create your DDNS service.

Adding New DDNS Service Dynu

6. Unless you have a hostname, feel free to create one (free of charge).

Setting Up DDNS Domain Name Dynu

7. Once done, Dynu will take care of the rest of the process.

8. Install the Dynu IP Update Client to update your hostname whenever your IP is changed.

Dynu Update IP Software

9. Next, pick a VPN with a 'SmartDNS' feature. Our recommendation is ExpressVPN. (You can try it risk-free for 30 days.)

10. Once you subscribe, return to ExpressVPN's home page and click "My Account."

11. Use your credentials to access your ExpressVPN account dashboard.

Signing In to ExpressVPN Website

12. On the left-hand side, pick "DNS Settings."

13. Look for the field named "Dynamic DNS Registration." Input your hostname there.

Registering Dynamic IP in ExpressVPN

14. Return to your ExpressVPN account dashboard.

15. Click "Set Up Other Devices." Then, pick "Apple TV."

ExpressVPN DNS IP for Apple TV

16. You will see your DNS server on the right side.

17. Using your Apple TV, navigate to Settings > Network.

Apple TV Home Screen Appearance with Settings App Highlighted

18. Select your Web connection and pick "Configure DNS."

Manual Configuration of DNS Server IP on Apple TV

19. Choose "Manual" and enter your DNS address (copy it from ExpressVPN's site).

Add Custom DNS to Apple TV

20. Restart your Apple TV. That's it!

Restarting Apple TV from the Settings App

Method #2: Set Up a VPN on Apple TV Using Your Router

To install a VPN on your router, you need a VPN service that supports routers. We recommend using ExpressVPN, as it supports an extensive range of routers.

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 and some technical knowledge.

Here's what it exactly entails:

1. Pick a VPN that supports plenty of routers, such as ExpressVPN.

2. Then, learn how to set up ExpressVPN on your router.

3. Visit your router's admin panel and ensure that you have an active VPN session.

4. Go to Settings > Network > Wi-Fi on your Apple TV.

5. Connect to your Wi-Fi network and return to Apple TV's home screen.

6. You can now use your Apple TV as if you're elsewhere.

We’ve put together a series of helpful links and articles (found below), providing highly detailed instructions on setting up a VPN on your Apple TV. So, take a look.

Device plug in

First, you’ll need a router that supports 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 for under $100.  

In case you didn’t know, DD-WRT is a type of custom firmware suitable for running a VPN service. For additional info, here’s our explanation of DD-WRT.

Once you obtain your VPN subscription and 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

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.

So, here's how to set up a VPN on your Apple TV by sharing your VPN connection.

How to Share Your VPN Connection on Windows 10/11

In the past, Windows users were forced to use a command-line interface to enable this option. However, Windows 10 and 11 have an easy-to-use interface that helps you create a mobile hotspot. So, here are our step-by-step instructions.

1. You need an active VPN, so go ahead and set up ExpressVPN on your Windows PC.

2. Then, go to Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile Hotspot.

3. Flip the switch on your screen to activate your mobile hotspot.

Windows 10 Mobile Hotspot Toggle

4. Select "Wi-Fi" next to "Share My Internet Connection From."

5. Click "Edit" to set a new network name and password.

Windows 10 Adapter Settings

6. Select "Change Adapter Options" below "Related Settings."

7. Note the name of the network you created moments ago.

8. Right-click on "ExpressVPN Tap Adapter." Pick "Properties."

Windows 10 Internet Adapters Panel

9. Select the "Sharing" tab and pick "Allow Other Network Users to Connect..."

10. From the dropdown menu, pick your newly created connection.

10. Finally, click "OK" to save your settings.

You’re free to connect to the newly created connection by going to your Apple TV settings. Once you do so, you’ll encrypt your Internet connection and access new types of streaming apps.

How to Share Your Internet Connection on macOS

If you use macOS, you can also share your Web connection – and then use Apple TV to get VPN-related benefits. However, remember 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). Then, do the following:

1. Go to System Preferences > Sharing.

2. On the left, select "Internet Sharing."

Internet Sharing Prompt on macOS

3. Pick your VPN connection next to "Share Your Connection From."

4. Select "Wi-Fi" in the field that says "To Computers Using."

Setting Up Internet Sharing on macOS

5. Use the "Wi-Fi Options" button in the bottom right corner.

6. Give a name to your connection and create a password. Then, click "OK."

Creating New Wi-Fi Connection on Mac

7. Tick the box next to "Internet Sharing" to start sharing your VPN connection.

Prompt to Turn on Internet Sharing Mac

8. Return to your Apple TV and go to Settings > Network > Wi-Fi.

9. Connect to your newly created Wi-Fi network (you'll recognize it by its name).

10. Feel free to return to your Apple TV's home screen. That's it!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, it's possible to set up a VPN on your Apple TV - but not directly. That means you'll need to pick a workaround based on your level of technical knowledge. However, with a little bit of effort, it's possible to reap the benefits of encrypting your data and changing your geo-location on your tvOS streaming device.

We'll also remind you that the best VPN for Apple TV is ExpressVPN. No matter which of the workarounds from above you'll pick, you'll need a trustworthy VPN to run in the background. You can also try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days.

Lastly, if you'd like to extend the reach of your VPN network, check our central guide on setting up a VPN, covering more than 60 different devices and platforms.


Does Apple TV Have a VPN?

No, your Apple TV doesn't have a VPN app. So, no matter which Apple TV model you have, there's no option to run a VPN app natively on tvOS.

However, as explained in this guide, there are multiple ways to extend your VPN coverage to your Apple TV. You won't be able to install it directly, but you'll still reap the benefits of your encrypted VPN connection.

How Do I Get a VPN on Apple TV?

You can get a VPN on your Apple TV in several ways - such as installing your VPN on a router or sharing your VPN connection from a computer.

If you scroll up, you'll also learn that "SmartDNS" services work on Apple TV. They're not a full replacement for a VPN. However, they work great for unblocking media streaming apps, making them highly usable on tvOS.

How Do I Get a Free VPN on Apple TV?

There is no way to get a free VPN on your Apple TV. That's because free VPNs don't allow you to connect from more than a single device at a time.

To connect to a VPN network from your Apple TV, you need to set up a VPN connection on your router or share it from your Windows PC or Mac. There's no free VPN that supports either of those two options.

How Do I Turn On a VPN on Apple TV?

There's no specific way to turn on a VPN on your Apple TV. Instead, you need to connect to a Wi-Fi network that's already encrypted.

For example, let's say that you've installed a VPN on your router. To enable your VPN, you simply need to connect to your router's Wi-Fi network on your Apple TV.

What VPN Works with Apple TV 4K?

Based on our hands-on test, the best-working VPN for your Apple TV 4K is ExpressVPN, which comes as the most capable VPN for tvOS available today.

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.

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