Currently, the only way to access a VPN on Apple TV is to run it through a router or share your VPN connection from your computer.
Apple is set to allow VPN apps on the Apple TV App Store with the release of tvOS 17 this fall.
Apple, which shared details about the nascent VPN support on its website (Opens in a new window), says the move will “benefit enterprise and educational users who want to access content on their private networks,” allowing that Apple TV “will be a great office and conference room solution in even more places.”
A virtual private network (VPN) creates an encrypted connection between your device and a remote server managed by the VPN service. While hiding your browsing history from your Internet service provider, a VPN also changes your visible IP address to the VPN server address, making it popular for people who want to access geo-restricted content.
As 9to5Mac reports (opens in a new window), developers are unlikely to launch their VPN apps on the Apple TV App Store before the release of tvOS 17 in the fall. Other streaming TV devices, like Amazon’s Fire TV Stick and Android/Google TV, have supported VPN apps for a while now. CNET points out (Opens in a new window) that the only ways to get around Apple TV’s lack of VPN support were to run the VPN through a router or share your VPN connection from your computer.
The tvOS 17 update is currently only available as a beta version to members of the Apple Developer Program (opens in a new window); Apple says a public beta program will be available next month via the Apple Beta website (Opens in a new window). It won’t arrive as a free software update for all fourth-generation Apple TV 4K and HD units (released in 2015 and later) until the fall.
Other features of the tvOS 17 update include a redesigned Control Center, support for FaceTime and Dolby Vision 8.1, as well as Enhance Dialogue, which allows users to hear more clearly what is being said about the effects, action and music in a movie or TV show. .