Apple TV doesn’t let you download VPNs. But! You can still spoof your location and watch US Netflix on Apple TV.
However, because Apple doesn’t support VPNs – or let you manually input VPN setting as it does on its other devices – the way you access US Netflix might be different from what you’re used to.
Continue reading to find out how to watch US Netflix on Apple TV.
How to watch US Netflix on Apple TV: tl:dr
There are actually three different ways – that I know of – to watch US Netflix on an Apple TV (when you’re outside the US).
If you want the very best performance, then I suggest putting a VPN on a spare router and use that as your home’s dedicated VPN network. This has the added benefit of sharing your VPN connection with any device that’s connected to your network – once you’ve set this up (it takes about 5 minutes), you never have to touch it again.
If you just want a quick fix that’ll let you watch US Netflix on your Apple TV without any additional hardware, then you’ll need to change you Apple TV’s DNS settings. Both Smart DNS Proxy and ExpessVPN have DNS servers you can use to watch US Netflix with.
How to watch US Netflix on Apple TV: VPN Router
If you’ve got the time and have a spare router – or are willing to buy one – then the best thing you can do is set up a VPN on a dedicated router. It’s the most elegant solution as it won’t interfere with your primary router and WiFi network.
The way I did it is pretty simple.
I run an ethernet cable from a port in the back of my VPN-enable router into my Apple TV (you always get the best speeds from wired connections).
This also has the benefit of giving my house and additional WiFi network that is always connected to a VPN. Now, if I want to watch US Netflix (or Hulu) on my smartphone, laptop, or iPad, I just have to switch wireless networks.
If you want to copy my set up, you need two things. 1. A router that supports a VPN or L2TP connection and 2. a subscription to ExpressVPN ($6.66/month).
I bought this cheap TP-Link TL WR841N router (UK £21.99; US $19.99).
When it arrived, I ran an ethernet cable from my main (local ISP) router into the WLAN port of my new router and set it up as a new internet connection. The rest is easy. Just follow the steps listed here – How to set up ExpressVPN on a TP-Link router with L2TP.
Here’s the gist of what’s involved.
- Change your connection type to L2TP
- Enter your login details (these are specific to setting up ExpressVPN on a router using L2TP)
- Switch your Addressing Type to Dynamic IP
- Enter the ExpressVPN Server IP Address/Name that you want to connect to.
And that’s it.
You’ll now have a dedicated VPN router that you can connect your Apple TV to and access TV content from all over the world.
Tip: I’ve downloaded the TP-Link app on my phone, and saved several ExpressVPN server addresses in my Notes app. If I want to switch from watching US Netflix to BBC iPlayer, for example, I open my Note app, copy the UK server address and paste it into my TP-Link app.
How to watch US Netflix on Apple TV: ExpressVPN’s DNS settings
Admittedly, this is a little confusing – you cannot download the ExpressVPN app on your Apple TV. What you *can* do is use ExpressVPN’s DNS settings to spoof your internet connection.
Be warned, though. This method isn’t as fast or reliable from my experience.
There are a few steps involved. But it’s actually really easy. Here’s what you need to do.
- Get ExpressVPN ($6.66/month – with 30-day money-back guarantee)
- Go to My Account > DNS Settings > click Register my IP address
- Go to dynu.com and click Create Account.
- Next, select DDNS Services.
- Click + Add to add a DDNS service.
- Make one up a hostname – it can be literally anything – and select any Top Level domain
- Click + Add.
- You will now see your hostname in [square brackets] and your current public IP under IPv4 Address.
- Turn the following switches off: Wildcard IPv4 Alias; Wildcard IPv6 Alias; Enable IPv6 Address; Email Notification
- Copy your hostname and click Save
- Go to expressvpn.com/dns_settings and paste your hostname into the Dynamic DNS registration field
- Go to Setup Apple TV
- Make a note of the DNS address on the screen
- Turn on your Apple TV and go to Settings > General > Wifi/Ethernet > Click on your network > Configure DNS > Manual > Enter your DNS
- Enter new DNS address
- Restart Apple TV
Tip: Use this method as a temporary solution until your router arrives (see above).
How to watch US Netflix on Apple TV: SmartDNS Proxy
Before I decided to buy a router and use it as my virtual gateway to America/England, I had a lot of success with spoofing my Apple TV location using SmartDNS Proxy.
- Go to Smart DNS Proxy and register for a 14-day free trial (then $4.90/month)
- Activate your real IP address via the Account Home page
- Make a note of your nearest server addresses from www.smartdnsproxy.com/servers
- Go to Apple TV Settings > General > Network > Wifi/Ethernet > Click on your network > Configure DNS > Manual > Enter your DNS
- Enter the DNS address from step three
- Restart Apple TV
- Watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world
Smart DNS Proxy doesn’t offer the same end-to-end encryption that VPNs do, however, it’s arguably much better suited to location spoofing on the Apple TV.
Smart DNS Proxy works with US Netflix – and Hulu, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, etc. – and literally hundreds of other streaming websites.
Smart DNS Proxy also lets you configure which IP location gets served to a specific website. This means you can easily set up your DNS to serve a US IP to Netflix while serving a UK IP address to BBC iPlayer; you can even configure it to serve a Saudi Arabian IP for BeIN Sports. All you need to do is change your DNS settings once.
Like any DNS or VPN service, the real value Smart DNS Proxy provides is uptime with streaming sites. This is the best DNS for providing its users for working IPs with BBC iPlayer.
There’s also a generous 14-day free trial, and you don’t even need to enter your credit card details, so you can test the server before deciding whether you want to pay $5/month.
But don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Below, I’ve detailed two ways you can change watch US Netflix on your Apple TV.