Access and Download iOS Apps from the US App Store Outside of the USA

Aug 22, 2011 - 29 Comments

Access and download USA App Store apps from outside the US

A common complaint about free app giveaways is that they’re often constrained to the USA based iOS App Store, in other words if you’re outside of the US you don’t get in on deals like the recent Rage HD giveaway and the ongoing myriad of other free app offers. This is a bummer for anyone outside of the USA, but thankfully, it’s somewhat easy to alleviate.

How to Access and Download US-based iOS App Store Offers from Outside the USA

The core solution here is to just create an alternate iTunes account that is based in the USA. If you’re going to follow this solution and juggle multiple iTunes accounts, this menubar utility makes switching between them easy and is highly recommended.

Before you get started, you’ll need two things:

  • Register another free email account, Gmail is free, quick, and easy
  • Any valid US address – use your cousins, uncles, Apple’s, Google’s, etc

Got that? Let’s get started.

  • Open the App Store from an iPhone or iPad, and from the “Featured” section scroll down to the bottom and select “Sign Out”
  • Now while signed out, locate a free app to download in the App Store, anything in the ‘free download’ section should work
  • Try and download the free app, and then select “Create Apple ID” when asked
  • Follow the instructions to create a secondary iTunes account, be sure to select United States as the country
  • At the credit card and payments screen, select “None” and continue – if you have any problem with this step read our guide on how to create an iTunes account without a credit card
  • After you have registered the US iTunes account, verify and activate the account by checking your freshly created email account from the first step

Now you should have complete access to the US iTunes and App Store, which lets you download any of the free apps only available to US-based users. Yes, this technique should also work for the Mac App Store.

Additionally, if you want to access paid US App Store downloads, you can always buy a iTunes gift card and redeem the code on the credit-card free iTunes account to have a balance that is then able to purchase apps as usual.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

29 Comments

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  1. Dean says:

    I think everyone outside the USA does this. I have a separate USA account and I live barely 100 miles from the border in the great white north, the Canada store isn’t much different but sometimes apps get released a day or two earlier on the US store and I am impatient. The worst part is toggling the different iTunes accounts because apps are tied to them.

    • Dan says:

      A day or two ? Sometimes ? You definitely are the personification of the Canadian passive approach to things.

      Hearthstone – Wasn’t released to Canada until well over a year later. Big gaming company, just didn’t feel like ticking that checkbox on publish.

      Apple Pay – Still mostly locked out. No NFC access for pairing etc still, even though the hardware is capable.

      Cortana – Didn’t even get a BETA opportunity in Canada. Where is it released — USA of course.

      Most of this stuff, there is no reason (legal, or otherwise) for product and services available in the USA to not be made accessible in Canada. We have a Free-Trade agreement AND a signed Treaty. We are both allegedly countries where free-commerce is allowed, and more so, Canada is mostly USA businesses anyway, so what gives ?

      Nice to sell your magazines here for 300% markup, but where are all the cool toys, gadgets, apps, software, etc. Might as well be a warring country as they seem to get more toys from USA than we do.

      • Burrito Billy says:

        The App Store isn’t that great, a few apps are no big deal, Apple Pay is not that great either. Canada gets free health care and education, the USA gets junk toys made in China that will last a week. Which would you rather have? Tough choice! You could always immigrate, the USA lets anyone in. Canada on the other hand makes it very tough to get in, iPhone or not.

        iPads, etc.

    • Dan says:

      Addendum:

      There is even an entire business model formed around getting physical goods from stubborn sellers in the USA to Canadian buyers.

      MyUS.com anyone ?

  2. ooò says:

    sending this to my EU friends, thanks

  3. David says:

    I am based in EU and I still can download Rage HD, without all that “creating new account etc.” stuff.

    Just download app straight to iPad and thats it.
    Hope it helps.

  4. Carl says:

    That’s really useful, but I’m in the UK and I could download the Rage HD app for free!

  5. Hug says:

    Indeed! But is it just me or you will have to sync your iPhone/ipad with that new account thus loosing all the other apps in your old account?

  6. Munas says:

    the link to menu bar utility at http://osxdaily.com/2011/05/22/switch-itunes-accounts-easily-menubar/
    points to the dead link

  7. Gazzer says:

    Last time I tried to use a non-native iTunes card in the UK store (e.g. US$ card in the GBP store), the system wouldn’t let me. So I’m not sure you can pay for stuff that way. $0.02

  8. Alexen says:

    Question
    Actually i have a lot of years with my account from USA
    (live in other country)
    It Will work this trick with iCloud?
    does iCloud service detect my ip adress?

    Nice to read you

  9. jim says:

    now this is not a very smart thing to post! it’s even flat out stupid!
    if this gets out big time, apple, the IRS and tax-ministries all over this world will stop this within the next month!
    thanks a lot for posting this……… NOT !!!!

    • Petar says:

      I don’t think so. This is not a some sort of secret. Who doesn’t use a web-proxy to get the US goodies? From watching sports, through itunes, to netflix…

      Everyone does is, just this is better explained, instead of making holes in the Internet, you get it written as it should be.

      Also, this information can be found in all sorts of forums, blogs, etc. :)

      The only problem is the speed. Because when you download something from your Appstore, the server is close and get it fast, but when it is in US…

  10. Diyan says:

    As it seems Gift Cards for the US store should be physically shipped to US address. Is there any workaround available?

  11. Diyan says:

    And now it seems that the “NONE” option for payment is removed.

  12. julian says:

    so once I get the US account, the only way to buy apps in US store is via gift cards? there is another way?

    Proxy? how does it work? I hear about that for Neflix, but I havent tried yet

  13. Lily says:

    Umm tried this on my iPad and although it didn’t have a ‘none’ it didnt require card details. This said it required a valid US address, and as I don’t live in the US how do I get around this?

  14. Cyril says:

    You need to start creating your US app store account by downloading a free app for the ‘none’ option to show up in the credit card selection.

  15. Cyril says:

    And the gift card section can be left blank!

  16. tasook says:

    Sounds cool.great, thanks
    If after I buy a US app, I then switch back to my normal account, will it still work??

  17. Smagmanc says:

    Tried to get a US apple id using the above method from here in UK on both iPhone and iPad but at the end of the process it comes up with “Contact Customer Services To Finish This Transaction”?

    I clicked on US, went through the setup by putting in email, security questions and clicked on NONE when asked for credit card details. I used googles hq US address and tried a few others but always hit the stumbling block where I couldn’t get any further without contacting customer service

    :-(

  18. William says:

    i want to purchase application but i couldn’t get in using my visa card outside US. i even tried to use US address but it keep on saying that my banks record did not much on the US address because i used US address and my Visa card is outside US. I tried using my own address matching on my visa card but still won’t work. If any anyone could help? Thanks…

  19. james says:

    some people used addresses from US, and contact number also. but come to billing section noting can do.

  20. Erin says:

    I was able to set up the USA account (in Canada) and purchased a USA iTunes gift card from PC Game Supply which I can use on the account. The whole reason I did this was to gift an app to my nephew in the States, but I couldn’t use my gift card balance to gift an app! I HAVE to have a credit card or paypal account associated with a USA address to gift an app. I think I will just give my nephew my account info and he can sign in and download it himself.

  21. […] or vice versa. As we’ve discussed before, it’s fairly simple to download apps from the US App Store from outside the USA, but going the other direction can be challenging, and finding some of those foreign apps can be […]

  22. louise says:

    I installed an app from the us store that allows you to make ringtones and save directly to the phones. So it allows me to make the ringtone from my own music but that’s where the fun ends cause it won’t allow me to save it to my phone.

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