For a company that appears to tout privacy as much as they do, it’s both astounding and questionable as to why Apple doesn’t permit VPN functionality on its Apple TV platform out of the box. Fascinatingly, VPNs can be installed and used on almost every other Apple device aside from the Apple Watch, including the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and even the Mac.
There’s no question that this silly limitation has brushed some Apple TV users the wrong way. On the other hand, there may be hope for those holding out. In a teaser Tweet shared this Thursday afternoon, Guardian Firewall founder and CEO Will Strafach said that the first VPN (and firewall) for tvOS is in the works and could be released for jailbroken Apple TVs in the future:
The Tweet was comprised of a teaser video showcasing a VPN proof of concept running on the Apple TV, and in addition to that, it also offered a link to the Guardian Firewall blog in which Kevin Bradley, or more colloquially known to the jailbreak community as @nitoTV, discusses how the work came about and why it’s a big deal.
“For a very long time, one of the most frequently requested features I’ve been asked to research is VPN functionality on tvOS,” Bradley explained in the blog post. “For no discernible reason, Apple has forbidden developers from providing VPN services to their Apple TV customers. However, those days will be coming to an end soon!”
From what we can gather, Bradley did some serious digging into tvOS’ frameworks and appled reverse engineering skills to get to this point. The new VPN workaround plays nicely with Apple TVs running tvOS 11, 12, 13, and 14, which jibes nicely with the fact that many Apple TVs can be jailbroken for life all thanks to the hardware-based checkra1n jailbreak tool.
Notably, this impressive work is still only in its ‘proof of concept’ stages. Despite working in its current state, Bradley plans to make sure that the user experience is refined before it ever becomes available to the masses, a sentiment that Guardian Firewall undoubtedly agrees with:
“These profiles still take some effort to get working properly with a VPN connection, and while this proof of concept is now working, I still have a bit more work to do,” Bradley added. “I’ve found another workaround to get VPN working, but I can’t divulge all of the secrets on how we got this moving. Start to finish to figure out the process only took about a day, pretty exciting development!”
Stafach hasn’t offered any kind of ETA for the release of Guardian Firewall for tvOS as of right now, but those interested are advised to stay tuned to @nitoTV, @chronic, and @guardianiosapp for updates.
Are you excited that your jailbroken Apple TV may soon have access to VPN functionality? Let us know in the comments section down below.