There is an Apple App Store for each country, which must comply with that country’s requirements. This means that when you move from one region to another, you may want to change the country of your app store.
This seems like the logical thing to do, but there are numerous downsides to this option and workarounds that may be better for you overall. So before you pull the trigger and change the current App Store location to something else, there are a few things to remember before changing the App Store country.
Is this a long-term move?
If you’re only going to stay in your new country temporarily with the intention of returning, it’s honestly not worth the change. This is especially true if you have no plans to change your current payment method.
Your payment method is linked to the country where you reside. You can’t use a payment method from one country to pay for purchases in another. So, if your current credit card won’t be canceled, you might as well leave your app store country or region unchanged. Everything will continue to function normally.
If you’re worried about regional apps like Netflix, they simply detect your location and tweak the available content based on that. There is no need to change anything in 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 proceeding. Here’s what you need to have in place:
- A payment method for the destination country, with a billing address in that country.
- Any App Store credit must be exhausted
- 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 read on for more warnings before doing so.
You will lose access to purchases
If you change the App Store country, you may lose access to the apps and content you previously purchased. They don’t disappear if you’ve already downloaded them to your device, but you may not be able to download them again later if you delete them.
This is the main reason why you might want to reconsider changing the App Store country. It is certainly not ideal to lose potentially hundreds of dollars in purchases for no real reason over arbitrary regional policies.
You can download and download apps
If you still want to proceed with the region change, you will 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 store all the apps we’ve purchased in local storage. Fortunately, it is no longer necessary to delete an app to free up space in modern iOS. Instead, you can simply download the application.
This deletes the standard application data, but does not 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 it. The license to use the app also remains on your local device. So this could be a way to keep apps after a region change. Although there is no guarantee that it will work indefinitely.
Also, it’s worth noting that you may not even be able to update apps from your previous region purchases. Which is another nail in the coffin for the idea of changing the App Store countries.
Family sharing is affected
If you have people in your family group who are not moving countries with you, then you will run into some problems. All members of a family group must have Apple IDs from the same region.
So, if you’re the primary member of the Family group or rely on the apps you get through membership in one, changing the App Store country will be a big deal. If you leave your existing Apple ID as it is, this won’t be a problem even if you now live somewhere else.
You do not HAVE to change the region of your country
So far, changing the App Store region may seem like more of a problem than it’s worth it, but you’re moving to a new country, so you definitely have no choice? No! It’s important to understand that no matter where you live, nothing will change in your App Store experience.
As long as you have a valid payment method for the region your store is currently set up in, you can continue to use it as usual, regardless of whether you still live in your home country or not.
If you lose your current payment method and use one linked to your new country, you may want to consider making the change, but there is an alternative you should think about first!
You can have more than one Apple ID
Most people probably only have one Apple ID, linked to their primary email address. However, there is 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 destination country. As long as you have a payment method ready for that region.
Apps from multiple Apple IDs can live on the same device without any problems. Switching between different IDs is also not a big deal. It’s as simple as entering a username and password.
Then 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 may have to go to the old store to update the apps, but that’s only a few minutes of hassle. It’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 best. So why make things even more complicated by tweaking your foundational and established App Store experience for so little money? While it makes sense that Apple offers the option to do so, the way it was implemented at the time of writing is far from ideal.
Of course, if you understand the implications of changing your region and agree, then don’t hesitate to go through with it. After all, managing a single Apple ID will always be less complicated than managing two. There is also a clear possibility that Apple will change some of the more inconvenient aspects of the region changes in the future, so the downsides listed here may no longer apply when you read this.
However, at present, our main recommendation is that anyone looking to change country in Apple’s App Store should simply create a second Apple ID and run both at the same time. It is the path of least resistance and taken along with all the other things you will worry about during your movement, it seems like the simplest solution.