VPN providers react to Apple TV third-party app support

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Jun 15, 2023

Apple just announced some exciting software updates to its Apple TV 4k coming in autumn. Among the updates, there’s something that will make those upgrading their streaming life with a VPN service very happy.

The tech giant will finally release long-awaited support for third-party VPN apps, allowing developers to create dedicated applications. At the moment, users need to find alternative ways to make their virtual private network (VPN) work on an Apple TV device.

While we’re waiting for new developments on this front, we talked to some of the best Apple TV VPN services out there to understand their future plans. Here’s what they said.

Plans for Apple TV VPN apps

Among the VPN providers we talked to, all said they are exploring the possibility of developing a suitable VPN app for Apple TV.

Despite the positive outlook, VPN providers are still cautious. “We will be able to confidently tell if this will happen once the tvOS 17 updates roll out this fall,” Vykintas Maknickas, Head of Product Strategy at NordVPN, told us.

“We are concerned that there may be some limitations for consumer VPN products and the update will only benefit B2B VPN solutions. If not, our users will be able to use NordVPN on their Apple TVs sometime in the nearest future.”

Surfshark is also said to be exploring the technical feasibility of a robust and user-friendly VPN for Apple TVs. The same goes for Hide.me and ExpressVPN, while both ProtonVPN and AtlasVPN are committed to expanding their VPN’s availability across more devices for the convenience of all users in the near future. 

In a more optimistic position is PureVPN, which plans to launch a new Apple TV VPN app within the next couple of weeks. “Our customers have been waiting for it for a long time,” the provider told us.

Lots of Apple news today, but the one thing I really care about is: third-party VPN support for Apple TV devices!The days of relying on the likes of MediaStreamer DNS addresses or having to AirPlay content from another device could soon be over for tvOS. pic.twitter.com/TtU5POJTk8June 6, 2023

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Apple TV users still need to wait a little longer to know if a dedicated Apple TV VPN will finally be released.

In the meantime, there are still ways people can use a reliable streaming VPN to watch their favorite shows on an Apple TV. All-in Apple users can turn on AirPlay to cast and mirror content from one Apple device to another.

If you don’t have another Apple device, you can install a VPN service on your home router. This can be a bit tricky and only works on selected hardware. Alternatively, a laptop or PC can be used as a virtual router but that can still be tricky. Some providers have their own hardware like ExpressVPN’s VPN router Aircove, which solves both these problems.

Another option, if available, is Smart DNS. Some providers including NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer this feature specifically for smart TVs.

Overall, VPN providers seem thrilled by the possibility of expanding their compatibility with Apple TV in the near future. “We’re pleased to see Apple opening up new ways of protecting users on Apple TV through enabling third-party VPNs,” a Proton spokesperson told us.