Some things to take into consideration
There’s an Apple App Store for every country, which must conform to the requirements of that nation. Which means that when you move from one region to another, you may want to change your app store country.
This seems like the logical thing to do, but there are numerous downsides to this option and workarounds that could be better for you overall. So, before you pull the trigger and change your current App Store location to something else, there are a few things to remember before changing your App Store country.
Is This A Long-term Move?
If you’re only going to stay in your new country temporarily with plans to return, it honestly isn’t worth the hassle of changing locations. This is especially true if you aren’t going to change your current payment method.
Your payment method is linked to the country you reside in. You can’t use a payment method from one country to pay for purchases in another. So if your current credit card isn’t going to be canceled, you might as well leave your app store country or region unchanged. Everything will keep working as normal.
If you’re worried about regional apps like Netflix, they simply detect your location and change the available content based on that. There’s no need to change anything about your App Store itself.
Apple App Store Country Change Requirements
If you are serious about changing app store regions, you need to do some prep work before going ahead with it. Here’s what you need to have in place:
- A payment method for the target country, with a billing address in that country.
- Any App Store credit must be used up
- All current subscriptions must be canceled
- Any active transactions, such as a digital rental, must be completed
Once you’ve done all of this, you’re ready to request a change from Apple, but before doing that read on for more caveats.
You’ll Lose Access To Purchases
If you change your App Store country, you may lose access to apps and content that you have purchased before. They won’t disappear if you’ve already downloaded them to the device, but you may not be able to download them again later if you delete them.
This is the biggest reason that you might want to reconsider changing your App store country. It’s hardly ideal to lose potentially hundreds of dollars in purchases for no real reason than arbitrary regional policies.
You Can Download And Offload Apps
If you still want to go through with the region change, you’ll probably want to download all of your apps to your device. Sadly most of us probably don’t have enough space on our iOS devices to permanently keep every app we’ve ever bought on local storage. Luckily, you no longer have to delete an app in order to free up space in modern iOS. Instead, you can simply offload the application.
This deletes the standard application data, but doesn’t remove its icon or your personal data such as documents or game saves. You can then re-download the app at any time by simply tapping on it. The licence to use the app also stays on your local device. So this might be one way to keep apps after a region change. Though there is no guarantee this will work indefinitely.
Also, it’s worth noting that you may also not be able to update applications from your previous region’s purchases. Which is another nail in the coffin for the idea of changing App Store Countries.
Family Sharing Is Affected
If you have people in your Family Group that aren’t changing countries with you, then you’re going to run into some issues. All members of a Family group need to have Apple IDs from the same region.
So if you’re the main member of the Family Group or rely on apps you get through membership in one, changing App Store country is going to be a major issue. If you leave your existing Apple ID as is, this won’t be a problem even if you’re living somewhere else now.
You Don’t HAVE To Change Your Country Region
So far, changing your App Store region may sound like more trouble than it’s worth, but you’re moving to a new country so surely you have no choice? No! It’s important to understand that regardless of where you actually live, nothing will change about your App Store experience.
As long as you have a valid payment method for the region your store is currently set to, you can keep using it as always no matter whether you still live in your original country or not.
If you’re going to lose your current payment method and will be using one linked to your new country, then you may want to consider making the change, but there’s an alternative to this you should think about first!
You Can Have More Than One Apple ID
Most people probably only have one Apple ID, linked to their main email address. However, there’s no reason for you to only have one Apple ID. Instead of changing your current ID to a new country, you can simply create a new Apple ID for the target country. As long as you have a payment method for that region ready.
Apps from multiple Apple IDs can live on the same device with no issue. Switching between different IDs isn’t a major hassle either. It’s as simple as entering a username and password.
So create a new email address for your new Apple ID, download all the apps and content you want to have on your device while logged into the old account and then switch to the new store. You might have to change over to the old store in order to update apps, but this is just a few minutes of hassle. That’s nothing compared to being permanently cut off from your old purchases.
Taking The Path Of Least Resistance
International relocation is a complicated and stressful job at the best of times. So why make things even more complicated by changing your fundamental, established App Store experience for so little gain? While it makes sense for Apple to offer the ability to do this, the way it has been implemented at the time of writing is less than ideal.
Of course, if you understand the implications of changing your region and are OK with it, then by all means don’t hesitate to go through with it. After all, managing a single Apple ID will always be less complicated than managing two. There’s also the distinct possibility that Apple will change some of the more inconvenient aspects of region changes in future, so the downsides listed here may no longer apply when you read this.
However, as it stands today, our main recommendation is that anyone looking to change countries in the Apple App Store should simply create a second Apple ID and run both concurrently. It’s the path of least resistance and taken along with all the other things you’ll be worrying about during your move, seems like the simplest solution.