April 21, 2024

How to Set Up a VPN on Apple TV



Published June 12, 2023, 8:20 a.m. by Jerald Waisoki


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How do you set up a VPN on Apple TV? Whether you're watching the NBA finals or the Tour de France, using a VPN on your Apple TV is a great way to enjoy global content from the comfort of your couch. Here are the best options to use a VPN on your Apple TV.

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0:00 - How to Set Up VPN on Apple TV

1:40 - Setting Up SmartDNS

3:06 - Running VPN on Router

5:18 - Flashing your Router

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- So how do you use a VPN on your Apple TV?

Maybe you went to the App Store and searched

for your VPN and were surprised when there was no app,

and then maybe you went to the settings panel

and you're looking for that VPN option

like your iPhone has, but it doesn't exist.

So how do you use a VPN on your Apple TV?

Now there's a few methods

for setting up a VPN on your Apple TV.

I'm gonna be using NordVPN in today's video,

but the methods are pretty much the same

on Surfshark, ExpressVPN, and other common VPNs.

NordVPN gives you three choices.

The first one is to connect to your VPN on your wifi router.

This is gonna be the most complicated,

but it's also going to give you the best result

because your Apple TV can just stay connected

to your home wifi network

and it's gonna run through your NordVPN server of choice.

This will allow you to access region-specific content

based on which server you connect to.

The second option is to use your laptop as a router

and share that wifi connection with your Apple TV.

Now I wouldn't recommend this

for most people because you can't do it on Mac.

It's only supported on Windows.

And if you have an Apple TV,

I think you probably have a Mac as well.

So I'm not gonna cover how to do that in this video.

The third option is to set up Smart DNS.

This is the recommended option

if you are located outside the US

and you wanna stream content inside the US.

You cannot change this location.

So if you're in the US and you use Smart DNS,

there's really no point because your location

is still gonna be in the US.

Smart DNS is very simple to set up on the Apple TV,

but it's technically not a VPN connection.

All it's going to do is change your location to the US,

but it doesn't encrypt your browsing traffic

and it doesn't hide your IP address

like a normal VPN connection would.

To set up Smart DNS,

you'll start by logging into your NordVPN account online.

You'll need to enable Smart DNS

in the panel and make sure you whitelist your IP address,

which the panel will automatically suggest

and fill in for you.

Surfshark, ExpressVPN,

and other common VPNs have a similar feature

to Smart DNS and most of them also require you

to log into the panel and whitelist your IP address

to get started.

On your Apple TV, go to the settings app

and scroll down to network, and then select your network.

In my case, I'm connected with ethernet,

so I'll just select this.

And I'm gonna go down to configure DNS.

Now I'm going to set this to manual,

and here we can put in the IP address

that NordVPN gives us for Smart DNS.

So the primary IP address is 103.86.99.103.

So I'm just gonna put that in here really quick.

Once you get the IP address in,

you can select done,

and then there's no secondary IP address on Apple TV.

Some devices will give you that option,

but NordVPN says it's optional.

So just worry about the one IP address with your Apple TV.

So now that Smart DNS is set up on your Apple TV,

you'll be able to access region-specific content

in the US only.

So if you're in the US and you want

to access shows in the UK or Canada,

you're gonna have to follow the steps

to set up NordVPN on your router.

Here's how you do that.

The steps are going to vary widely based

on the router that you have,

but most VPNs are capable of connecting to a wifi router.

And just a quick note,

your ISP provided router is not going to be compatible

with the VPN.

This is the router that your internet company

sent you when you started service with them.

So if you've been using their router

and you haven't purchased your own,

you're gonna need to get your own router for this to work.

Also, there are many routers

that do technically support a VPN,

but they require you to flash a custom firmware

in order for it to work.

I would not recommend doing this

unless you're an advanced user and you're really comfortable

with networking because there's a lot that can go wrong.

There are several ASUS, Linksys,

and Netgear options that do support connecting

to a VPN without any third party firmware.

I'll have a couple router options linked

below at different price points.

Here's how I connected my ASUS router to NordVPN.

You'll start by going to your router's control panel.

The address for it is usually located

on the back of the router or the bottom of the router.

In my case, it's router.asus.com,

but it could be something

like 192.168.1.1 or another IP address.

In your router setting screen,

look for something that says VPN.

On my ASUS router, it's in the sidebar.

Once I click the VPN tab,

I'm gonna click the VPN fusion tab

at the top, on your router,

it may also be called VPN client.

Start by setting up a VPN profile and give it a name.

This can be something you'll remember,

but I would recommend adding the location name

because you may set up multiple profiles

with different locations later on.

For VPN type, select OpenVPN from the dropdown

and your username and password you're gonna find

in the manual configuration screen

on your NordVPN account.

After this, go to the NordVPN servers page

and select your location of choice.

From there, download the OpenVPN UDP profile.

Back in your router's settings panel,

you can import the OpenVPN configuration file.

And once you save the profile and enable it,

all of your wifi traffic will now be routing

through your NordVPN server of choice.

From there, you can set up multiple profiles

with different locations,

and just keep in mind that whatever profile

you have enabled,

all of your wifi traffic on all

of your network is going to route through that server.

Your router may not natively support VPN connections,

but there might be a custom firmware

that you can flash on your router

and this will allow you to set up VPN access.

DD-WRT is a common third-party firmware

that allows you to enable VPN access on many routers.

But I do wanna note this is for advanced users only.

There are risks to flashing your router.

You may end up bricking it

and have to restore it to its factory firmware,

and there's a lot that can go wrong.

So I would not recommend this

unless you're very comfortable with networking.

If you don't have a VPN yet

and want to know which one is right for you,

check out my full comparison video here.

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