How to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK

If you’re trying to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK, you probably won’t be able to find the app on the AppStore, and even if you can, you won’t be able to play any of its content.

This is because BBC iPlayer is only available in the UK, and if you’re outside the UK it will block you from accessing its content.

The good news is getting and watching BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK is incredibly easy. In this article I’ll explain the easiest way to do it so you can watch all your favourite BBC iPlayer content anywhere in the world reliably.

How to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK: Guide

Total Time: 2 minutes

  1. Make a UK-based Apple Account

    How to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK

    Start by creating an Apple account that is registered in the UK. This is essential because the BBC iPlayer app is only available on the UK App Store. You can find a video guide on how to do this here.

  2. Download BBC iPlayer on Apple TV

    How to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK

    Once your UK Apple account is ready, use it to download the BBC iPlayer app directly onto your Apple TV.

  3. Create a BBC iPlayer Account

    How to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK

    After installing the app, you’ll need to create an account with BBC iPlayer to gain access to their range of programs. You can find a video guide on how to do that here.

  4. Sign Up with ExpressVPN

    How to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK

    Register for an account with ExpressVPN. If you want the very best, ExpressVPN has been setting the standard in the industry for years. It’s the best VPN on the market for reliably streaming content. However, it is the most expensive too. If this is a factor for you, NordVPN is the better choice.

    ExpressVPN is renowned for its reliable and fast connections, which is crucial for streaming high-quality content without buffering or interruptions. You can get 3 months of your subscription for free here.

  5. Download ExpressVPN on Apple TV and sign in

    How to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK

    Install the ExpressVPN app on your Apple TV and sign in. This step is easy due to the availability of the native ExpressVPN app for Apple TV

  6. Watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV Outside the UK

    How to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK

    With all these steps completed, you’re all set to enjoy the vast content of BBC iPlayer on your Apple TV, regardless of your location.

How to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK: Video Guide

Why do I need a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK?

You need a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK for several reasons:

  1. Geographic Restrictions: BBC iPlayer is a streaming service that is only available to users located within the United Kingdom due to content licensing agreements and regional broadcasting rights. When you try to access BBC iPlayer from outside the UK, it detects your location based on your IP address and restricts access.
  2. VPN Masking: A VPN allows you to mask your actual IP address and replace it with an IP address from a server in the UK. This makes it appear as if you are browsing from within the UK, which allows you to bypass the geographic restrictions imposed by BBC iPlayer.
  3. Privacy and Security: VPNs provide an additional layer of privacy and security by encrypting your internet traffic. This helps protect your online activities from prying eyes, including your internet service provider and potential hackers.

How does a VPN work?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, operates by establishing a secure and encrypted connection between your device and a remote server located in a different geographic region. When you use a VPN for accessing BBC iPlayer on Apple TV from outside the UK:

  1. Encryption: The VPN encrypts your internet traffic, making it indecipherable to any potential eavesdroppers. This encryption ensures the confidentiality and security of your data as it travels over the internet.
  2. IP Address Concealment: When you connect to a VPN server in a specific location, your true IP address, which reveals your physical location, is hidden. Instead, your internet traffic appears to originate from the location of the VPN server. For BBC iPlayer, you would connect to a UK-based VPN server, making it seem like your connection is coming from the UK.
  3. Circumventing Geographic Restrictions: BBC iPlayer, like many streaming services, uses your IP address to determine your geographical location. If you are outside the UK, it restricts access to its content. By employing a VPN with a UK server, you effectively change your virtual location, making it appear as though you are located within the UK.
  4. Access to Region-Locked Content: With your internet traffic routed through a VPN server in the UK, you gain the ability to access region-locked content, including BBC iPlayer. The service recognizes your connection as originating from within the UK, granting you access to its content library, encompassing TV shows, films, and live broadcasts.

Will any VPN work with BBC iPlayer on Apple TV?

If you’re looking for a VPN to use with BBC iPlayer on your Apple TV, you’ll find that ExpressVPN is a great choice. It’s the only VPN that has a special app just for Apple TV, making it really easy to set up and use. This is a big plus because it means you won’t have to go through complicated steps to start watching.

Even if we don’t consider the Apple TV app, ExpressVPN is still a top pick for BBC iPlayer. It’s reliable and lets you stream shows without issues.

It’s important to note, however, that not every VPN works well with BBC iPlayer. BBC iPlayer has strong measures to block VPNs, and many VPN services struggle to bypass these blocks. This means you might find yourself unable to access iPlayer content with some VPNs. That’s another reason why ExpressVPN stands out – it consistently overcomes these blocks, ensuring you can enjoy your shows without interruption. So, whether you’re using Apple TV or just want a good VPN for BBC iPlayer, ExpressVPN is a solid option to consider.

Will a free VPN work with BBC iPlayer?

Using a free VPN with BBC iPlayer is often not very effective. The main reason is that BBC iPlayer has strong measures to detect and block VPNs, and free VPNs usually don’t have the resources to get around these blocks. They have fewer servers, which makes it easier for BBC iPlayer to spot and block them.

Another issue with free VPNs is their performance. They often offer slower speeds and limited bandwidth, which can lead to a poor viewing experience with a lot of buffering and low-quality streaming.

There are also concerns about privacy and security with free VPNs. They might not have strong encryption, leaving your data vulnerable. Some might even track your online activities and use them for advertising or other purposes.

So, while it’s technically possible to try a free VPN with BBC iPlayer, it’s usually not the best choice if you want a reliable and secure streaming experience.

Is watching BBC iPlayer with a VPN legal?

There are only a handful of countries (spot the authoritarianism link) where using a VPN is illegal; these are: China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, North Korea, Iraq, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Egypt, Eritrea, Seychelles, Suriname, Namibia, Slovenia, Nicaragua and Tajikistan.

If you’re outside these countries and are using a VPN, you’re legally allowed to do so. However, it’s important to know that using a VPN with BBC iPlayer may breach the service’s terms of use.
In here it states: “You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, or to watch or download BBC programmes on iPlayer when you’re in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. If you’re outside these areas you need to check if your country has its own TV licensing scheme.”

What this means is if you’re accessing BBC iPlayer in a location that doesn’t have a TV licensing scheme with a VPN, then the BBC is within its rights to ban/block your connection or account.

However, with BBC iPlayer being a free streaming service that doesn’t require any sort of subscription, you aren’t obliged to accept a contractual agreement meaning there’s less restrictions when it comes to using a VPN with the streaming service.

This means, although BBC iPlayer will try and stop you from accessing its content with a VPN. It won’t ban your account for using one. However, as the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer use military-grade encryption, it’s impossible for BBC iPlayer to trace where you’re physically accessing its content from, making it very hard for the BBC to block your account.

Also, BBC iPlayer has never banned anyone for using a VPN to access its service.

For more information you can check out our article answering Is streaming with a VPN legal?

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like,, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.


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