How to install ExpressVPN on Apple TV

How to install ExpressVPN on Apple TV
(Image credit: Peter Kotoff/Shutterstock)

As one of the most popular premium streaming devices on the market, millions of people worldwide rely on their Apple TV to deliver all their streaming content, every day. However, if you’ve taken your Apple TV abroad you may notice your favorite streaming services aren’t available – and to remedy that, you’ll need to use the best VPN.

You’ll also want to use an Apple TV VPN if you want to explore what the rest of the world has to offer on Netflix, or use services like BBC iPlayer outside their country of origin. 

For all of these jobs, our top recommendation is ExpressVPN – it’s fast, easy to use and, most importantly, in our ExpressVPN review it was the most reliable service for unblocking just about any streaming site online. We've also got ExpressVPN promo codes to help you save on your subscriptions costs.

However, using ExpressVPN (or any VPN, for that matter) with Apple TV is a little more tricky than it is with other devices. So, here we’ll run down the four easiest ways to change your location on Apple TV and access worldwide content wherever you are.

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Option 1 – Use MediaStreamer Smart DNS on Apple TV

Using ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer function is probably the easiest way to access blocked content on Apple TV. To start off, you’ll need to sign up to ExpressVPN if you haven’t already. The instructions below are for Apple TV 4K and HD devices – for older devices, make sure to check ExpressVPN's own guides.

It’s also worth noting that MediaStreamer Smart DNS is not a true VPN connection. It does not provide any anonymity features, and is only designed for spoofing your location to get access to blocked content. For more secure methods, check out the sections below.

1. Once you’ve signed in to the ExpressVPN website, you’ll need to register your IP address so the provider can identify you, and allow you access to MediaStreamer. Head to the DNS settings page and follow the instructions.

2. Head over to this page to get your MediaStreamer DNS server IP. Keep this page open for reference later.

3. Open Settings on your Apple TV, and head to Network.

4. Select your Internet connection type – it’ll probably be Wi-Fi, but of course select Ethernet if you’re plugged in directly.

5. Click on your active connection to to enter its settings

6. Head to Configure DNS, and set it to Manual

7. Enter the DNS server IP from the page you kept open earlier.

8. Restart your Apple TV, and you’re done!

Now, when you head to Netflix and Amazon Prime, you’ll be directed to the US version of the site no matter where you are in the world. If you head to BBC iPlayer, you’ll appear to be in the UK. 

Unfortunately you can’t change your location to anywhere other than the US when watching Netflix with MediaStreamer. If you want more flexibility, you may want to use a virtual router.

How to install ExpressVPN on Apple TV

(Image credit: Anton Shaparenko/Shutterstock)

Option 2 – Use a virtual router to share ExpressVPN with Apple TV

Choosing between setting up a VPN on your router and sharing your VPN-encrypted connection from your PC depends on one question: Do you want it to always be on, or do you want to turn it on and off in seconds?

If you only want a quick way to temporarily share your ExpressVPN connection with your Apple TV, using your PC or Mac to set up a virtual router is probably the best option. You’ll be able to set it up initially in about ten minutes, and then switch it on and off whenever you want. 

The process on Mac is quite complex, and we recommend following ExpressVPN’s own instructions on setting up a virtual router on a Mac.

If you’re using Windows 10, check out our dedicated guide on how to set up a virtual router on Windows

Option 3 – Use a router VPN to get ExpressVPN on Apple TV 

If you want permanent, secure protection on your Apple TV, you should install a router VPN. As well as allowing your Apple TV to use true VPN connections, doing this will make sure every device connected to your Wi-Fi will be covered. It’s a great way to make your VPN subscription go further (one of our only issues with ExpressVPN is the fact it only offers five simultaneous connections), and means you don’t have to worry about switching it on and off.

However, the process can be quite complex, and sometimes you might not want to have the VPN active. ExpressVPN makes this much easier thanks to its dedicated router app, and if you want to get started, we recommend following our dedicated guide on how to install a VPN on a router.

How to install ExpressVPN on Apple TV

(Image credit: T3/Future)

Option 4 – Use AirPlay to cast content to Apple TV

Finally, if you want to watch geo-blocked content on your Apple TV and have an iPhone or Mac to hand, a quick and easy solution is to simply cast content using AirPlay. This doesn’t require the Apple TV to use any VPN software itself – all you need is a VPN on the device that you’ll use to cast the content. It’s worth noting that it can be problematic casting or mirroring from an Android device to Apple TV, so here we’ll only be looking at Apple products.

All you need is an ExpressVPN subscription, an iPhone VPN or Mac VPN, your Apple TV, and a Wi-Fi connection.

1. Make sure both your Apple TV and the device you’re casting from are switched on and connected to the same Internet connection.

2. Connect to your desired ExpressVPN server on your Mac or iPhone.

3. On iPhone, open up your chosen streaming app (Netflix, for example). On Mac, head to the streaming service’s website

4. Select your chosen TV show or movie, and start playing.

5. Tap on the AirPlay icon.

6. Select your Apple TV, and watch!

How to install ExpressVPN on Apple TV in a nutshell

There are a few different ways to use ExpressVPN with your Apple TV to access geo-blocked content. While setting it up on your router is the most permanent solution, it can be fiddly and may require you to buy new hardware. MediaStreamer Smart DNS is super simple and effective, but doesn’t offer a huge amount of flexibility in locations, or any encryption.

For those reasons, for most users we’d recommend either casting from a device to your Apple TV using AirPlay, or setting up a virtual router with your computer. Both offer greater security and protection while also unblocking more content from around the world – and what more could you ask for than that?

Why use ExpressVPN?

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With over 3,000 servers worldwide and excellent speeds on just about all of them, ExpressVPN is a versatile, secure solution for streaming, torrenting, and day-to-day browsing. You can test it out risk-free for 30 days and claim your money back, and now Tom's Guide readers can get three months absolutely FREE

ExpressVPN – our top-rated service today
With over 3,000 servers worldwide and excellent speeds on just about all of them, ExpressVPN is a versatile, secure solution for streaming, torrenting, and day-to-day browsing. You can test it out risk-free for 30 days and claim your money back, and now Tom's Guide readers can get three months absolutely FREE.

Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.