ExpressVPN, one of the most popular virtual private network (VPN) services, has released an official app for the latest Apple TV operating system. The new app arrives alongside the launch of tvOS 17 and marks the first time Apple has allowed third-party VPN apps on its set-top streaming platform.

A VPN redirects a device’s internet traffic through remote servers, hiding a user’s real IP address. This allows Apple TV owners to bypass geographic restrictions and access streaming content available in other countries. Before tvOS 17, Apple TV users had to set up VPN connections at the router level, affecting all network devices. The ExpressVPN app only tunnels Apple TV traffic, leaving other devices unaffected.

VPNs boost privacy and security

In addition to unlocking content, VPNs boost privacy and security. ExpressVPN encrypts data and does not log user activity or traffic data. This prevents internet providers from tracking viewing habits or collecting personal information. Educational institutions and businesses may also leverage the enhanced security features on employee and student-issued devices.

Although Apple did not promote the VPN addition as a consumer play, ExpressVPN seized the opportunity. Smaller rivals like IPVanish and PureVPN had beaten them to market after tvOS 17 launched in October, but ExpressVPN quickly followed suit with its own app release on December 4th.

Despite the quick embrace by VPN providers, questions remain about Apple’s tolerance. VPN-based content unblocking clearly clashes with licensing agreements in various regions. NordVPN has also announced plans to launch a TV app, but all eyes are on Apple to see whether the feature remains in place over time.

The ExpressVPN Apple TV app allows account setup via QR code to avoid cumbersome text entry on the TV remote. Connecting routes traffic through ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol, explicitly engineered for speed and reliability during video streaming.

Additional enhancements are slated for 2023 as ExpressVPN iterates on the platform. The company also opened registration for beta testers willing to trial new features and offer feedback for further fine-tuning.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Soulful Pizza; Pexels

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.