Apple TVs will get native VPN app support in tvOS 17, according to an Apple press release (via 9to5Mac). It’s one of many features that didn’t make it into the keynote at WWDC 2023, but it could be a big deal for some folks. Assuming native VPN apps on Apple’s streaming box work as they do elsewhere, you might not have to wait to get home to catch up on streaming shows when traveling with an Apple TV 4K in tow.
Right now, in tvOS 17, to use a VPN with your Apple TV, you’ll need to do something like install a VPN on your router to do it, and not all routers support this. Native VPN support is one of the rare advantages Google’s Chromecast or Amazon’s Fire TV devices hold over the Apple TV right now.
We reached out to NordVPN and Express VPN, two popular VPN providers, to see if they plan to support the feature, and NordVPN responded with a maybe, although it is “actively exploring” creating a NordVPN app for Apple TV.
“We are concerned that there may be some limitations for consumer VPN products and the update will only benefit B2B VPN solutions,” NordVPN PR Manager Egidijus Jurgelionis wrote in an email to The Verge, “If not, our users will be able to use NordVPN on their Apple TVs sometime in the nearest future.”
Native VPN support already exists on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and adding the ability to your Apple TV is potentially great news — not just because it could mean you can stream shows that aren’t available in your own country. VPNs on other devices can potentially let you use TikTok at a university that’s banned it, while selecting servers outside your own location could let you download the embattled social media app if wider bans go into effect in a state like Montana, for example.
Other new tvOS 17 features announced in the release include enhanced dialogue, which separates dialogue from background noise and routes it through your center channel, and Dolby Vision 8.1 support. It will also bring updates to Apple Fitness+ that will add custom workout and meditation plans you can schedule based on things like your day, preferred duration, and workout type. It also adds stacked workouts — essentially a workout playlist option — and Audio Focus, which lets you prioritize music volume or Apple’s trainers’ voices.
Updated June 12th, 2023, 11:21AM ET: Added comment from NordVPN.