How To Setup a VPN on Apple TV – 2016

Updated - February 25th, 2016

Note: The VPN Program I use with my Apple TV is called ExpressVPN. You can learn more by clicking here or reading more below.

The most asked question I've been getting in my inbox recently is how to setup a VPN on Apple TV. Instead of answering all of these emails individually I decided it's time to write a guide on how this can be done. So here it is and I hope this answers all of your Apple TV / VPN related questions.

Why you might need a VPN for your Apple TV

appletv vpn
Apple TV is an awesome product, especially if you love on-demand entertainment. The only problem with on-demand entertainment is it's not widely available to viewers who are located outside of the US. If you live outside of the US you will not be able to access services like Hulu, Pandora, or Netflix because these services will either block you or give you limited access to a much smaller content library.

The reason these services are blocked is simple. Companies like Hulu and Netflix have certain copyright agreements with the major movie studies. These agreements prevent Hulu and Netflix from making the movies and TV shows they stream available to people outside of the US.

Update 2016: Netflix has expanded globally but their content libraries are considerable smaller outside the US. For example here in Hungary today on February 25th, 2016 we have access to 100 TV shows and less than 500 movies. This is compared to the 1000 TV shows and almost 5000 movies that Americans have access to. Crazy, I know.

In short, to use on-demand entertainment services on Apple TV outside of the US, you're going to need to get a US IP address and the easiest way to do this is through a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

Personally, the VPN I use and trust is called ExpressVPN but there are other good options available as well. Specifically, IPVanish is another good option. See the table below for a more detailed breakdown.

Two methods for setting a VPN with Apple TV

Believe it or not, Apple TV does not have internal support for VPN network settings but don't worry, it's still possible to setup a VPN with your Apple TV. There are actually two ways of doing this which I'll describe in detail below.

vpn router
Method 1: Using Apple TV with a VPN Wireless Router

You can easily connect your Apple TV to a VPN through a VPN router. Of course to do this you'll need two things: an account with one of the three VPN services I mentioned above and a VPN enabled router.

Like I mentioned, I use ExpressVPN but either of the services I mentioned above will work.

If you don't already have a router, you'll want to make sure you have one from the list below.

VPN routers for apple TV

After you've selected your VPN router you'll want to connect your VPN account details to your router. This is done a bit differently based on the type of router you have but it's really not difficult to do if you have any of the above routers.

Next, you'll need to connect your Apple TV to the VPN through the router. This is simple to do, it's really just choosing the correct wireless network on your Apple TV. Not just the Apple TV but any device connected to this router will be connected to the internet with the IP address of the router. This means you can access Hulu, Pandora, or Netflix on any device connect to this router. Pretty cool, right?

Method 2: Connect Apple TV to VPN via Network Sharing

appletv ethernet
If you don't feel like buying a VPN router you can always use your computer as the VPN router. Basically you're going to connect your Apple TV to your computer through the ethernet port. For this to work you'll need to have ExpressVPN already downloaded on your machine (this takes 5 minutes to do - just sign up and download).

Here's How to Setup Network Sharing for Apple TV on Windows

  1. Access the "Network and Sharing Center" on your computer by visiting the "Control Panel" and choosing "Network and Internet"
  2. Navigate to "Manage Wireless Networks" (for wireless connections) > "Wireless Connection" > "Adapter Properties"
  3. You can use Ethernet or USB to do this, simply click on "Change Adapter Settings" and navigate to your connection properties
  4. Under the Sharing tab, check the box that says "Allow Other Network Users to Connect Through This Computer connection"
  5. This is all you need to do to connect your computer's VPN connection to you Apple TV. Remember, you'll need to connect your computer to the VPN so your apple TV can also be connected to the VPN.

network sharing windows for apple tv

Here's How To Setup Network Sharing for Apple TV Max OSX

  1. Go to "System Preferences" on your Mac computer. Under the "Internet & Wireless" section click on "Sharing"
  2. Click on "Internet Sharing" on the left hand site of the screen and Select "Airport" from the drop down menu titled "Share your connection from:"
  3. Also select "Ethernet" under the "To computers using" section so that your Apple TV can connect to the internet through the Ethernet Port running from Apple TV to computer.
  4. Connect to the VPN installed on your desktop
  5. Plug your Apple TV into your Computer and you will be able to take advantage of having a VPN on your Apple TV

Network Sharing for Apple TV

If you're using Windows, this is what ExpressVPN will look like on your computer:

buffered 2016 connected

This is what ExpressVPN looks like on a windows operating system.

Get a US iTunes Account

Finally, you'll need a US iTunes Account which is very easy to get. Simply connect to your your Apple TV (via US server) and go get a new account. Signup for a US email address if you don't have one (new gmail account is fine).

Turn on US apps

If you connect from a US IP address, US apps should appear automatically, if now you can turn this on by going to settings > iTunes STore > Location > United States

Setting up US payment method

Services like netflix require a US valid payment method with doesn't have to be tricky. If you have a credit card you may be able to register for netflix with the following method:

  1. Use the numbers of your postal code only. For example, if you postal code is AM6 7BS, only use numbers 6 and 7.
  2. Add zeros to these two numbers until it's 5 numbers long i.e. 67000
  3. Go here and check whether the zip code is valid
  4. If its not, add to the last digit until you get a valid zip code (i.e. 67001, 67002, 67003, keep going)

In Conclusion

Guys, I know I threw a lot at you in this post but I assure you you can do all of this within half an hour. Let's take a look at how long this really takes:

  • Signing up for a VPN like ExpressVPN takes no longer than 5 minutes.
  • Downloading the VPN software is like 20-30 SECONDS
  • Setting up a VPN router, if you have one takes literally 2-5 minutes
  • If you choose method 2, all you have to do is turn on Network sharing which only takes 2-5 minutes
  • Connect your Apple TV to your VPN (via wireless or ethernet network sharing) 30 seconds - 1 minutes
  • Signing up for iTunes + Netflix will take 5 minutes
  • By my count, you can have this all setup in under 30 minutes.

As always, I'm here to help. You don't need to be a techie to set this up. If you have any questions please drop me a line in the comment section below. Thanks for reaching and Enjoy 🙂

My Top VPN Recommendations 

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