How to Change the Country for iTunes & App Store Accounts

May 24, 2013 - 9 Comments

Apple flags Country association with an Apple ID, and thus the App Store and iTunes Store, can be changed easily. This allows access to content and apps that are country or region specific, and it’s extremely helpful for a variety of situations, whether for travelers, expatriates, or for anyone who is trying to view, download, or purchase items on another countries App Store or iTunes Store. While switching is easy, there are a few caveats to consider when changing the Apple ID country.


Quick note about changing countries: adjusting the country association with iTunes will also change the country for the App Store, and vice versa. In other words, if you set the country to be “USA” or “Japan” on your iPhone for the App Store, that change will carry across to the Apple ID to your other devices using the same ID. That includes a Mac, iPad, iPhone, or whatever else you’re logged in with. Basically, the country sticks with the Apple ID, just remember that.

How to Change the Country Associated with an Apple ID from iOS

This can be done from the Settings on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  • Open Settings, and go to “iTunes & App Stores”
  • Tap on the Apple ID and enter the associated password
  • Choose “Country/Region” and select the new country to associate the account with

Change the Apple ID Country association for iTunes and App Store

Do note that if you change the country associated with an Apple ID, you will need to update billing information so that it corresponds to an appropriate address in the new country. That is required before you will be able to purchase anything from the new countries app store, though gift cards work as well if they are issued in the country of choice, and you can also switch countries with iTunes accounts that have been setup without a credit card on file and download free apps and music only.

Changing Countries from iTunes on the Desktop

This will work in iTunes for Mac OS X or Windows:

  • Launch iTunes and go to the iTunes Store
  • Click on “Account” and log in, under “Apple ID Summary” choose “Change Country or Region”
  • Select the new country as desired

Again, you will need to update billing information to be in accordant with the new region if you intend to purchase anything.

Important Considerations for Changing Country Association of Apple ID’s

Some apps will no longer be able to update if they were available on one countries App Store and not another. That can be remedied by changing the country back to the original country that was associated with the download or purchase.

You won’t be able to switch countries if you have any remaining iTunes account balance, and you would get a message that says “you must spend your balance before you can change stores.” This limitation also applies to accounts with an active iTunes Match subscription.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iTunes, Tips & Tricks

9 Comments

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  1. Lisa says:

    Hi !
    I tried to change the country of my itunes account but when I tried from my mac they say : “You have at least one incomplete pass. Passes must be completed before you can change stores”
    So what are those passes??
    Thanks in advance !

  2. Katrien says:

    Hello,

    I try to change from Belgium to US, but I need to enter a Zip Code before I can change the country.
    Thx.

  3. Sandeep says:

    I followed this and it worked for me. I had an iphone back in 2007 when I was in USA and my apple ID had USA credentials. Now I moved back to India and used same apple ID on my iPhone 5s. iTunes used to take me to USA iTunes Store. But after changing the country by following this, I am able to use Indian iTunes Store .

  4. Sot says:

    Hello

    I followed the steps but where I have to chose change country – region it doesn’t give me the option to change it at all.

  5. laura says:

    mine does not say country any where is there another way?

  6. Mpa says:

    You have a store credit balance;you must spend your balance before you can change stores.
    Help me please how can i do

  7. Megaman fan says:

    I can’t. It doesn’t let me. And what allowance? Sheesh. How much money do I need to do this. I only have 32 cents and there’s nothing you can do with 32 cents.

  8. BatteriesInc says:

    The key issue I have with country changes is that I have no idea what will happen to app updates, which in some cases are security updates.

    If an app is available in the current as well as the “new” region, it stands to reason it should continue to update, but that is an assumption, not an Apple-confirmed fact. Even if that was a fact, I still have risks as I cannot tell which apps are region limited and will not update, that critical information is simply not provided. I suspect that’s partly because a visible region limit may make you sensibly decide not to buy a region limited app/media/publication (etc etc).

    On the plus side, that uncertainty (and inability to top up the account from abroad as payment instruments are region limited) has made me decide to not spend at all, which has saved me a lot of money by now (it’s been 2 years since I moved). At some point I may want to put some software again, or music, but I would like to know that I am not throwing an existing investment in IP away by changing region or country.

    • BatteriesInc says:

      (addendum – this issue exists for both iOS as well as OSX, but at least you can still buy software for OSX without having to go through the App Store – the above is one of the reasons why I avoid the App Store now)

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