As Apple kicked off WWDC 2023 on Monday, all eyes were on the Vision Pro headset. But buried at the bottom of a press release published by the company the same day was another announcement worth getting excited about (well, I’m excited about it): Third-party virtual private network support is coming to Apple TV.
When Apple releases TVOS 17 (its latest TV operating system) this fall, you’ll be able to download third-party VPN apps to your Apple TV. This will allow you to open up a world of streaming opportunities on your Apple TV device and keep your viewing activities hidden from your internet service provider.
A VPN is a piece of software that encrypts your internet traffic and routes your connection through a secure server in a location of your choosing. In doing so, the VPN changes your visible IP address to the address of the VPN server you’re connecting through, making it appear to the sites you visit as though you’re in a different location. This means that you can access geographically restricted content online from streaming services like Netflix simply by connecting VPN servers in different regions around the world. You can even use your VPN to get around blackout restrictions and stream local sports broadcasts.
You can expect the best VPN providers to start rolling out Apple TV VPN apps alongside the release of TVOS 17 this fall.
While other streaming devices like Amazon’s Fire TV Stick and Android/Google TV have long supported third-party VPN apps, Apple is playing catch-up and just now getting into the mix. Up to now, the only ways to use a VPN on your TV with an Apple TV device were to either run the VPN through a router or share your VPN connection from your computer — which can be complicated, expensive or both.
With Apple finally allowing for third-party VPN support with the release of TVOS 17, using a VPN on Apple TV devices will get significantly easier.