iPhone and iPad Mac

What to Know Before Changing iTunes and App Store Country

Dan Helyer Updated 25-05-2020

We might live in an interconnected world, but international laws and policies can’t always keep up with our jet-setting ways. You’ll discover this first-hand if you ever try to change your iTunes or App Store account from one country to another.

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Although it is possible to switch your iTunes or App Store country—which we’ll show you how to do below—doing so comes with a fair amount of drawbacks, like losing access to all your previous purchases.

Here’s everything you need to know about this process.

The Problem With Changing Your iTunes or App Store Country

App Store purchases not on this iPhone for download

Each country accesses a different version of iTunes or the App Store. Sometimes these stores have different apps, music, movies, and other media available in them. But even if two stores have exactly the same content, you can only access your purchased media from the store you bought it from.

That means you lose access to all your existing iTunes and App Store purchases when you change your Apple ID to a different country.

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Anything already on your device is still available to use and apps you’ve already downloaded still get the latest updates. But you’ll need to change the App Store and iTunes settings How to Master the iPhone App Store's Settings Need to review past downloads, add funds to your account, or remove an app rating? We show you how to do this and more on the iPhone App Store. Read More back to your original country again if you want to access purchases that you hadn’t already downloaded.

The biggest issue with this is that you need a valid payment method for whichever country you want to change iTunes and the App Store to. You can’t use an Australian credit card in the US App Store, for example.

So if you moved from Australia to the US, you’d need to get an American credit card to change to the US App Store. Then, if you ever wanted to access your Australian purchases again, you’d need to use your old Australian card to change back. This might be impossible to do if you moved to America permanently and your Australian payment details have expired.

One way to get around this problem is to create a second Apple ID account, rather than changing the settings for your existing one.

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The Benefits of Creating a Second Apple ID Account

Create Your Apple ID website with Country selected

Instead of changing the country or region for your existing iTunes and App Store account, sometimes it’s beneficial to create a second Apple ID to use instead. With two separate accounts—one for Australia and one for the US, for example—you can switch between them at any time without needing to update your payment information.

All you would need to do is sign out of iTunes and the App Store on your device, then sign in again using the second account. After doing so, you get instant access to all the iTunes and App Store content from that country, including your previous purchases.

It’s possible to create a new Apple ID account without attaching any payment information to it, allowing you to download free media from iTunes or the App Store in any country. If you want to buy something from another country, you can either add a payment method from that country or purchase a foreign iTunes gift card to use with that account.

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The problem with this method is that it splits your purchases across two separate accounts. You need to associate each of them with a separate email address. And if you lose access to one of the accounts, you also lose all the purchases you made using it.

How to Keep iTunes and App Store Purchases From a Different Country

Downloaded purchased movies from iTunes

If you’ve already downloaded them to your device, you can still use any apps, music, movies, TV shows, books, and other iTunes or App Store purchases regardless of which country or account you purchased them from.

That means you should download all the purchases you want to keep using before changing your iTunes and App Store country, or before creating a separate Apple ID account.

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If possible, create another copy of these purchases by making an iPhone backup How to Back Up Your iPhone and iPad Wondering how to back up your iPhone? Here's our simple guide to backing up your iPhone using either iCloud or iTunes. Read More on a computer. When creating the backup, be sure to select the option to Back up all the data from your device to your computer.

If you lose access to your original Apple ID account or if you’re unable to change the iTunes and App Store back to your original country, you can restore this backup to retrieve your original purchases.

How to Change the iTunes and App Store Country Settings

If you are moving to a different country permanently—meaning you only expect to change the country for iTunes and the App Store once—then you should change the settings for your account.

Otherwise, you should create a second account to make it easier to switch between iTunes and App Store countries multiple times. This second method is particularly useful if you don’t have a payment method for the new country you want to use.

We explain each option below.

Method 1: Change the Country Settings for iTunes and the App Store

There are a few steps you need to take before you can change your iTunes and App Store settings to a different country:

You also need to make sure you have a valid payment method and billing address for your new country. You’ll need to add this payment method to your Apple ID account when you change countries.

While you can change the iTunes or App Store country from any device, you only need to do it once. After you change the settings on one device, it affects the same account across all your other Apple devices as well.

On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  1. Open the Settings app and go to [Your Name] > iTunes & App Store.
  2. Tap your Apple ID username and choose to View Apple ID from the popup.
  3. Tap Country/Region and choose to Change Country or Region, then select the new country you want to change to.
  4. After agreeing to the Terms and Conditions, enter the payment information and billing address for your new country and tap Done.

On a Mac:

  1. Open Apple Music and go to Account > View My Account from the menu bar.
  2. Under the Apple ID Summary section, click the option to Change Country or Region.
  3. Select the new country you want to change to.
  4. After agreeing to the Terms and Conditions, enter the payment information and billing address for your new country and tap Done.

Change Country or Region button in Apple Music app on Mac

Method 2: Create a Second Apple ID Account for Another Country

Creating a second Apple ID account is the best way to switch iTunes and the App Store to a different country temporarily. You don’t need a foreign payment method and it’s easy to switch back and forth between your old account and the new one within the App Store itself.

The easiest way to create a new Apple ID account is directly on your device. When you do so, make sure you select the right country for your new account. You’ll need to confirm this by adding a billing address in that country and verifying your account with an email address (and possibly a phone number as well).

You can use any phone number, even if it’s from a different country. But you need to use a new email address that isn’t linked to an existing Apple ID account.

On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  1. Go to Settings > [Your Name] > Sign Out.
  2. Choose which iCloud data to save to your device and tap Sign Out.
  3. Open the App Store and tap the Account icon in the top-right corner, then choose to Create New Apple ID.
  4. Select your new country beneath the email address and password fields.
  5. Enter an email address and password to use with your new account. You can’t use an email address associated with another Apple ID account.
  6. Tap Next and fill in every requested Apple ID field. If you don’t have a payment method for this country, choose None. Even without a payment method, you need to find a billing address you can use in this country.
  7. Tap Done when you’re finished to create your new account.

Top Up Your Account With an iTunes Gift Card

After you create a new Apple ID account or change the settings on your existing account, you should be able to access content from iTunes or the App Store in the new country of your choice.

To make purchases, you need to ensure your payment information and billing address matches your new country. Alternatively, buy an international gift card and use it to add credit to your account. Learn all there is to know about iTunes Gift Cards Apple iTunes Gift Cards FAQ: 7 Common Questions, Answered What's an iTunes gift card? Can you use an iTunes gift card for Apple Music? See answers to these iTunes card questions and more. Read More before buying one to make sure you get what you need.

Related topics: iOS App Store, iTunes Store, Mac App Store.

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  1. Tamas Kelemen
    January 13, 2019 at 8:58 am

    I may be wrong but all of this was not an issue even back in 2012.

    You just have to be a little brave.

    I moved from Sweden to Hungary. I switched my iTunes settings accordingly with a new credit card. Yes, iCloud did not know about my Swedish purchases. However, if I tapped on the price tag of a paid app that I bought back in Sweden, iTunes told me that I can download that app free of charge.

    So there is absolutely no need for all this hassle written in this article.

    But this was between two countries in the EU. It might work differently for other countries.

    I hope this helps.

    • namya
      August 21, 2019 at 9:27 pm

      hey! I just read your comment and wanted to reach out to clear a few doubts! I will be shifting to canada soon, and would be studying there for a while. plan to settle down there but only time will tell. I am on the indian store right now, so I guess I will have to give up on a lot of applications. is it worth the sacrifice? also, if I continue to stick, will I be charged according to indian pricing on my subscription, despite me being in canada? thanks a lot in advance!

  2. Ajarn Spencer
    April 20, 2018 at 3:20 am

    if i did that then my son in singapore, my brother in Thailand would not be able to access my Apple TV movies anymore, which about to 560 movies and about the same in tv shows and music, plus about 350 apps at least 50 of them paid apps. Changinc countries and apple id is just not viable because downloading all those movies to my mac would take up about 8 terabytes of space, and my family with apple tv on my account around the world would lose the movies.
    Hence i supposedly live in dronnigens glade america for Apple and dont have a payment method, but actually live in Thailand and use topup codes to manually add funds to the US store account... however it is a pain in the ass in this day and age that you can just change adress and credit card numbers as you change countries... this is an international world, and people work around the world spending years in different places, and need to switch countries more easily with Apple. it is not well thought out, and yes, international law is a Bummer.

  3. Ross Bellette
    October 20, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    I once would have agreed with this article about switching countries but now under iOS 11 all my previous movies have appeared and are available to watch once more. I moved from New Zealand back to Australia recently.

  4. JustMe423
    October 13, 2017 at 3:20 am

    Apple makes it PITA for them to abide by rules of the country that Apple ID is tied to. So basically one Apple ID is tied to one country. I have account balance in my account which I use it to buy iCloud storage and other apps from US stores. I am visiting for a month and I can download apps that are US Store - but there are few apps only listed in visiting country that are free, but cannot be downloaded without changing the country. If you have balance amount, one cannot change the country unless I make use of all the available credit.
    So I just gave up on downloading the country specific app and it ain't worth the hassles.

  5. Stella
    May 22, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    DOWNLOAD LINK for City Mania Town Building Hack:
    City Mania Town Building Hack iPhone

  6. Mr Pirate
    February 16, 2017 at 1:04 am

    I was about to purchase Final Cut Pro X, because i now have a job. The price in the uk has gone up to £299 so i am sticking with my Pirated FCPX Until i can change my app store to usa store, then purchase FCPX for $299, Because in dollars it is £50 cheaper. you can also still download past purchases from a different app store.

  7. Jacek Bogucki
    January 25, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    that is exactly why Apple and DRM in general are pieces of garbage. it shows their level of respect for customer. then they are surprised that people are pirating software and other intelectual property.

  8. edinson sanchez
    November 7, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    As I live in south america I had to deal with this forcefully.
    The ecuadorian apple store just came into existence a mere 2-3 years ago. back when I got my first iPhone I could not buy anything. Even tho they sold them in every store around the country. Luckily I had US issued credit card and went on pretending I lived there. Until the ecuadorian app store spawned and I excitedly made the change. Nightmare.

    Why can't they do like Google and have a unique store that processes all payments and stuff ? I am sure google also must deal with individual countries and their legislation.
    I am a developer so i must have an iPhone as well as an Android device. One gives me problems, the other does not. Get on with the times Apple !!

  9. JM
    September 23, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    I would advise to create a secondary iTunes account. I do not believe a 2nd device is necessary as long as you dont mind switching id's. See my write-up on subscribing to iTunes music which required me to have a 2nd iTunes account.

  10. Nikeboy
    September 9, 2016 at 4:09 am

    There's no mention here of the 90 day switching rule.

    If you download a purchase with one iTunes account and switch to the other, you will receive a message stating that you cannot download content to the same machine on a different ID for 90 days. I ran into this last week. The upshot is, if you want access to your original purchases and use a new or country switched account, you'll need to download all of your original purchases locally first (bye bye cloud usage).

    • Tim Brookes
      September 19, 2016 at 3:02 am

      Interesting, when I wrote this article I don't think that was an issue. I remember hopping onto the US App Store to get a few US-specific apps, then back to my home store with no issue. I guess this is Apple's way of combatting that?

  11. Jonah
    June 5, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I am trying to download an app with my iMac that is (only) available in the US store and not in the one of/in my country. When trying to switch, it says I cannot switch to the US store.

    I thought we were living in an global world and that Apple was a 'global' corporation?

    Everyone was (is) so excited about the Apple App Store. Well, I am not. I find more apps in Google Play (and that is my Android-based phone, of course) than in the Apple App Store.

    This kind of method of acquiring and installing programs (as we used to call "apps" in the good ole days) is a (i.o.o.) bad method. Or, in other words: it sucks.

    I will just keep on downloading programs from the Internet.

  12. Ian
    June 3, 2016 at 1:26 am

    So here is another issue I live in France and travel in the US. i needed a local app changed my region to the US and purchased an Itunes gift certificate to be able to download the free app. Now I can not change back to the French region as I am required to use up my credit on the gift certificate before I can rechange stores. What idiot invent these rules? I need to try and find purchases that will cost me the remaining balance of 4.02 USD exactly otherwise I am stuck in the US store that has no value for me as I do not have a US credit card. Apple goes to
    through great efforts to discourage travellers using their services. Mindboggling....

    • Tim Brookes
      June 3, 2016 at 3:06 am

      This is a bit odd, I'd expect iTunes to simply keep your balance at $4.02 on your "US account" and allow you to switch to the French store. Is there not even an option to discard your current balance?

      Have you tried contacting Apple about this? I'm sure they'd happily scrap the balance if you gave them permission to do so.

      • Ian
        June 3, 2016 at 11:32 pm

        "You have a store credit balance; you must spend your credit before you can change stores" I did report the issue to customer service and look forward to the solution.

  13. Ben
    April 26, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    @kiwidaish, what does this do besides giving you that app on the old decrepit iOS device? Does that app then appear on your main iOS device that you wanted it on or something?

  14. Tony
    March 25, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    This also creates a complicated issue for your Mac App Store Apps.

    I'm in the same situation and the auto updates on the Mac do NOT work for either countries, asking endless times to switch from one store to the other.

    The only MANUAL process I found that works is, you have to let's say in the Australian store (as logged in) on your Mac, go to the App updates, click the first one waiting, if it asks you to login to the UK store just hit cancel, continue for all the apps waiting until there are no more apps to be updated from the Australian store. Then logout from Australian store and login to UK store, and repeat the process...

    Very time consuming and really upsetting...

    This is when you maintain 2 different accounts for 2 different countries, I don't want to imagine the nightmare if I merge them...

    At least Apple changed their policy about allowing you to have only 1 App Store account in the World, yes only 1! (4 years ago)

    They cancelled one of my accounts, since I'm also a developer it cut me from my apps that I developed using that account because my developer ID was associated with that.

    When I contacted they enabled it, but this kept happening every once a week, so I escalated the issue and finally a higher in ranking agent took my call. He said that I can only have 1 app store since I have one LEGAL residence. I said how do you know that I only have 1 LEGAL residence? He answered when you live more than 6 months in a country that becomes your residency and you can only have your account in that country.

    My answer quite surprised him and contributed Apple to change their policy with their 1 store limit.

    I said, I live 3 months in country X, 3 months in country Y, 3 months country Z and 3 months on my yacht in international waters, which App Store can I use?

    The answer was silence... :)

  15. Andrey
    February 2, 2016 at 6:53 am

    «Once you’ve switched stores, your list of purchases in iTunes and on your iPhone or iPad will be empty, but the apps you already have on your device will continue to update without a hitch. In this sense, your app purchases are tied to your Apple ID and will continue to update until you delete them.»

    Just to make sure. Is it true for the apps I downloaded from another country's app store that are not accessible in my country's store? Will they continue to update?

  16. Ian Daish
    January 5, 2016 at 8:55 am

    There is a very easy get-around. Acquire an old and otherwise redundant & virtually worthless iPhone 4 or iPad2 (say) and start up a brand new AppleID account on it in the new country that you want to access the App Store. You do not actually need to register a credit card issued in the new country as it appears that you can use iTunes gift vouchers instead. I have just done all this to obtain a free app here in New Zealand to access Lightbox NZ, a local television on-demand streaming service, that I cannot access using my home country (UK) App Store. Job done!
    Ian Daish (kiwidaish@icloud.com)