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How to Unblock TikTok Bypass Country or School Bans

How to Unblock TikTok: Access TikTok From Anywhere in 2024

Countries and schools worldwide are trying to ban TikTok due to privacy concerns. If you still want to use it despite such bans, here’s how to unblock TikTok with a VPN.

Andrej Hadji-VasilevSamuel ChapmanVildana Bratic

Written by Andrej Hadji-Vasilev (Writer)

Reviewed by Samuel Chapman (Editor)

Facts checked by Vildana Bratic (Video Editor, Fact-Checking Editor)

Last Updated: 2024-01-25T10:54:52+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

The TikTok app is 2023’s most downloaded app so far, with hundreds of millions of downloads on mobile devices. In the past couple of months, rumors have circulated that the U.S. might ban the social network, joining several countries around the world that have imposed some kind of restriction. If you want to keep using it, here is how to unblock TikTok. 

Key Takeaways: Unblocking TikTok From Anywhere

  • TikTok is an incredibly popular social media app, but in recent months, countries and schools have blocked it due to concerns about its parent company, ByteDance, and potential ties to the Chinese government. 
  • If you’re in a location where TikTok is blocked, or you’re at school and can’t access the app, you can unblock it with a VPN. Just log in to the VPN and change your server location to a place where TikTok isn’t banned.
  • Using ExpressVPN is the best way to bypass the TikTok app block, but NordVPN and Surfshark are both excellent VPN alternatives for TikTok users. 

Whether you want to unblock TikTok on your mobile device or on your desktop browser, you can do so with a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN will not only give you a new IP address in a different location where TikTok isn’t restricted, but also add some always-welcome security to your internet connection. 

Several providers have a VPN server in locations where the social network isn’t blocked, but when stacked against each other, three VPNs stand out. We’ll go over all of them, starting with our top pick, ExpressVPN. Before we do that, though, we’ll briefly discuss why TikTok is banned in the first place. 

  • 05/23/2023 Facts checked

    We updated the article to include information about Montana passing a law to ban TikTok, and the social media platform filing a first-amendment lawsuit against the state.

  • 11/14/2023

    Updated the article to reflect ExpressVPN’s expansion of server presence from 94 to 105 countries.

How to Unblock TikTok: Why Is TikTok Banned in Some Countries?

TikTok as a social media network doesn’t seem to pose any threat. What has raised some red flags, however, is ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company. The company is listed as privately owned, but it’s headquartered in China, leading to international concerns that the company may share customers’ personal data with the Chinese government. 

Chinese authorities could force ByteDance to hand over the platform’s data, including data it has on foreign users, which could potentially expose sensitive information. China’s National Intelligence Law requires any organization to cooperate with the country’s intelligence agencies, so ByteDance would have to abide by a data request. 

For this reason, many countries have restricted citizens or government employees from installing the app on their devices. 

Additionally, some U.S. states are considering bans, including Montana; although now that the Montana ban is passed, it faces legal challenges, including with TikTok filing a first-amendment lawsuit against the state.

What Countries Have Banned TikTok?

Several countries have imposed some kind of restriction. Most have banned it only on government-issued devices, citing national security concerns, but also some have bans in place for private users. Here are all the countries where you can’t freely use and access TikTok. 

TikTok Ban Status

Completely banned, including on private devices

Countries:

  • 🇦🇫 Afghanistan
  • 🇮🇳 India

Banned on government-issued devices only

  • 🇦🇺 Australia
  • 🇧🇪 Belgium
  • 🇨🇦 Canada
  • 🇩🇰 Denmark
  • 🇪🇺 EU
  • 🇫🇷 France
  • 🇳🇿 New Zealand
  • 🇳🇴 Norway
  • 🇹🇼 Taiwan
  • 🇬🇧 UK

Advisory against using on government devices

  • 🇳🇱 Netherlands

The U.S. TikTok Ban

Back in 2020, the Trump administration attempted to ban the social network in the United States. The attempt was blocked by a federal judge. In June 2021, the Biden administration revoked three of Trump’s executive orders regarding TikTok, but continued investigating how the company uses data. 

In December 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden signed the No TikTok on Government Devices Act, which bans the app from any device owned by the federal government. The FBI and the Department of Justice have an ongoing investigation into ByteDance and its use of TikTok to spy on journalists. 

Do U.S. States Have TikTok Bans?

At the time of writing, the only U.S. state that has taken legal action to ban users from accessing the platform is Montana. The bill became law on May 18, 2023. However, the law faces legal challenges, including a first-amendment lawsuit from TikTok.

In addition to this, the social media platform has been completely banned from any U.S. government-issued devices and systems as of February 27, as part of the No TikTok on Government Devices Act. 

Here is a list of states that have blocked it from government-issued devices at the time of writing: 

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Why Is TikTok Blocked in Schools?

Also citing security, plenty of schools and companies have restricted access or completely blocked TikTok for those connected to their network. This restriction also includes access to the social network on devices that have been issued by the school or company. 

There is a way around such a restriction — you can use a VPN to unblock access to the app while you’re at school. To add to this, you’re also securing your connection, and making sure the school network administrator can’t snoop on your browsing session. 

At the moment, using a VPN to unblock TikTok is legal — you can use VPN providers such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN or Surfshark to access the app and all its content. This may change in the future if a TikTok ban is implemented by more countries, or if your school network administrator decides to restrict VPNs.

How to Access TikTok With a VPN

Accessing the platform via a VPN app is fairly easy — here’s how to do so. We’ll use ExpressVPN on an iOS smartphone as an example of how to unblock TikTok. 

  1. Sign Up For and Download ExpressVPN (on Desktop)

    Go to ExpressVPN’s website and click “get ExpressVPN.” Follow the instructions to sign up for ExpressVPN and download the app for your device.

    signup expressvpn desktop
  2. Sign Up for and Download ExpressVPN (on Mobile)

    Go to your device’s app store and download ExpressVPN. Open the app, then follow the instructions to sign up and log in.

    signup expressvpn mobile
  3. Choose a VPN server

    Once you’ve downloaded and signed in to the VPN app, click the location to open the server list. From the server list, choose a server in a country that hasn’t blocked TikTok. We used Switzerland — you can search for it using the bar at the top and choose it as your location.

    servers expressvpn
  4. Connect to the Server

    When you’ve chosen a server, hit the “connect” button. After a few seconds, you’ll be connected, and you should be able to access TikTok.

    connect expressvpn

Can I Use a Free VPN to Access TikTok?

There are very few free VPN apps that we’d recommend as safe to use. Our usual suggestions are Windscribe, Proton VPN and TunnelBear, with TunnelBear being the best option to unblock TikTok. Windscribe comes with a fairly small server list, and Proton VPN has only three free server locations.

TunnelBear gives you access to all of its servers on the free plan, though it does have a 2GB data limit. If you only need it for casual use, and don’t intend on watching too many videos, you can certainly use it to unblock TikTok. 

When you’re looking into how to unblock TikTok, you will undoubtedly come across proxies. While proxies can deal with countries or a school blocking the app, they offer no security or privacy and may collect your user data. We always suggest using a VPN instead of a proxy to get a new IP address.

How to Install the TikTok App in Countries Where It’s Banned

If you live in a country where TikTok is completely blocked, you may find it’s not available on your local app store. You can unblock and access TikTok even despite such limitations — here’s how to do so on both an iOS device and Android device.

Install the TikTok App on iOS 

  1. Open the Apple App Store

    From your home screen, open the app store. 

    tiktok ios 1
  2. Open the Settings

    Hit the profile icon in the top-right corner.

    tiktok ios 2
  3. Go to your Account Settings

    Tap your name and email address to open the account settings.

    tiktok ios 3
  4. Go to the Country and Region Settings

    Tap “country/region” to open the list of locations.

    tiktok ios 4
  5. Choose a New Location

    From the list, choose a new location where there aren’t any TikTok bans. Agree to the terms and conditions, and select “none” as the payment method.

    tiktok ios 5
  6. Enter a Billing Address

    In the billing settings, enter a billing address from the country you chose. You can use an address generator to get a random address in any country.

    tiktok ios 6
  7. Download TikTok

    Now that you have changed your location, you should be able to go to the app store and download TikTok. 

    tiktok ios 7

Install the TikTok App on Android

  1. Open the Settings

    On your Android device, open the settings. 

    tiktok android 1
  2. Go to the Apps List

    From the settings, open the list of installed apps.

    tiktok android 2
  3. Open the Play Store

    In the list, find and open the Google Play Store. 

    tiktok android 3
  4. Clear the App Data

    Click on “storage,” and then at the bottom tap “clear data.” 

    tiktok android 4
  5. Connect to a VPN

    Use your VPN of choice to connect to a location where TikTok isn’t banned.

    tiktok android 5
  6. Download TikTok

    With the VPN open, you should be able to see and download TikTok from the Play store.

    tiktok android 6

The 3 Best VPNs for Unblocking TikTok

Plenty of VPNs can unblock TikTok, but the three below can do so while providing the best possible performance and security. They also topped our best VPN for TikTok list. All of them have easy-to-use apps for all devices that you can use TikTok on, both mobile and desktop. 

1. ExpressVPN

unblock tiktok expressvpn
ExpressVPN has a beautiful UI, regardless of which platform you use it on. 

Pros:

  • Massive server network
  • Great apps for all devices
  • Good security & performance

Cons:

  • Expensive

ExpressVPN is our top pick if you want to unblock TikTok. It has a large server network with servers in 105 locations, many of which don’t block the TikTok platform. The apps on both desktop and mobile are very easy to use, which is why we put it at the top of our list of best VPNs for beginners. You can find out more about it in our ExpressVPN review

ExpressVPN doesn’t compromise on performance and security. Its proprietary Lightway protocol has a lightweight database and minimal impact on performance, while still offering both AES and ChaCha20 encryption. The only downside is ExpressVPN’s pricing, though if you want a new IP address in a secure way, it’s very much worth it

2. NordVPN

unblock tiktok nordvpn
NordVPN’s mobile apps display all the important information at a glance.

Pros:

  • Large server network
  • Great security & performance
  • Apps for mobile & desktop

Cons:

  • Poorly designed mobile apps

If you’ve read our comparison on NordVPN vs ExpressVPN, you probably won’t be surprised that NordVPN takes the second spot on this list, as well as on our list of best VPNs. NordVPN boasts a large server network, with over 5,000 servers in 60 countries, many of which don’t have TikTok blocked. We talk more about the server list in our full NordVPN review.

NordVPN has apps for all platforms where TikTok is available, making it easy to bypass the block. This includes even smart TVs and gaming consoles, though we found the mobile apps — especially the settings menu — to be a bit complicated to use. The prices are affordable in comparison to ExpressVPN, making NordVPN an excellent alternative VPN for TikTok. 

3. Surfshark

unblock tiktok surfshark
The Surfshark iOS app is a breeze to use. 

Pros:

  • Affordable prices
  • Unlimited device connections
  • MultiHop servers

Cons:

  • Inconsistent latency

Surfshark is a very solid VPN all around, with consistently high speeds as seen in our VPN speed comparison, and a strong focus on security. It comes with unlimited simultaneous connections, making it easy to share a subscription with others and enjoy videos on multiple devices with a single subscription. 

The Surfshark app’s menu also shows MultiHop servers, which tunnel your connection through multiple VPN servers, adding security and concealing your real IP address even better. It’s also a great budget VPN. Surfshark’s only downside is the sometimes inconsistent latency, which you can find out more about in our Surfshark review

Surfshark Starter
  • Unlimited GB bandwidth, Unlimited devices, Secure VPN, Ad blocker, Cookie pop-up blocker.
  • Unlimited GB
  • Unlimited
  • Yes
Surfshark One
  • Everything in Starter, plus Antivirus protection, Identity protection, Email Breach and Credit Card Alerts, Online Alias
  • Unlimited GB
  • Unlimited
Surfshark One+
  • Everything in One, plus Data removal
  • Unlimited GB
  • Unlimited

How to Stay Safe on TikTok

If you’re using TikTok and want to make sure you’re staying safe, there are a few things you should consider. The first thing to do is head to your TikTok app settings and make sure your profile is set to private. This ensures that other users can’t follow you or interact with your TikTok account without your explicit approval. 

Once you’ve made your profile private, disabling mentions and tags is a great way to make sure you don’t get tagged in unsafe videos. You can even choose who you want (or don’t want) to message you on the app. 

Practice common sense when using TikTok. Avoid engaging with users you don’t know, don’t click on links that seem suspicious, and don’t use TikTok when connected to a network you aren’t sure is private and secure. The same applies for other social media networks. 

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to unblock TikTok can get you access to all its content even when your location has banned TikTok. Using a virtual private network lets you enjoy videos despite a block, and you’re also adding security to your internet connection. 

ExpressVPN is the best way to unblock TikTok in locations where restrictions are in place. If you want to watch videos at school without paying ExpressVPN’s high prices, NordVPN and Surfshark are excellent alternatives. 

Do you live in a country where TikTok is blocked? Or are you having issues accessing the app while you’re at school? Which VPN is your choice to unblock TikTok? Let us know in the comments and, as always, thank you for reading. 

FAQ

  • You can bypass TikTok country restrictions and unblock access to the app by using a VPN, which stands for “virtual private network.”

  • TikTok is completely unavailable in Afghanistan and India.

  • The first permanent ban of TikTok occurred in India, when the government banned the app in 2020 after a military clash between Indian and Chinese troops. The Indian government claimed that the ban was to protect the data and privacy of its citizens from being transmitted to unauthorized servers.

  • Yes, India banned the app in 2020, so if you want to use TikTok in India, you’ll need to use a VPN.

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