While the edgiest of edge cases, switching your home country in an app store probably should be relatively simple, I thought to myself.
So, now I have an Australian bank account, and an Australian address, I thought it worthwhile to have a go and see what happened.
I have an iPod Touch – I use it for reviewing iPhone apps for clients – as well as an Android phone. The Android phone gets the most use, but worthwhile trying this on both platforms.
The Apple App Store first. Go into the App Store and press the big Apple ID button at the bottom of the Featured page. That takes you directly to a page marked “Country/Region”. After agreeing the T&Cs again, typing in an Australian credit card, and (oddly) choosing a new password, your account flips to Australian. It hasn’t deleted any UK-specific apps from my iPod, but now allows me to download Australian ones.
So, on to Google’s Android. Should be just as simple, right? Er…
So the first thing to do is to dive into the “account” section of the Google Play Store, but that doesn’t quite give you everything you need. Eventually, lots of Googling later, you discover that you actually need to go to Google Wallet on the desktop – except it’s a site called Google Payments these days. You then change your payment cards in here, but that by itself isn’t enough. You then need to hit the tiddly settings cog and find the setting for your home address, whereupon you change your home address, and then open up Google Play Store on your phone again, and still get the UK store, and wonder what else you need to do, so you try buying something and it charges you Australian dollars so you think you have done it but you still get UK prices and UK apps in the Play Store when you go back there. So you swear, and you lose interest, and you do something else, only to discover at a random time later your Google Play account has finally synced with something or other and you finally can see the Australian version of the store.
If, of course, Google lets you get that far. My primary account had, at some stage before 2011, a Google Checkout merchant account enabled for it, which I’ve never used (given Checkout was withdrawn from the UK market relatively soon after signing up). So an unused merchant account that can’t be used in the UK isn’t an issue, right? Well, it turns out that once you have had a merchant account associated with your Google account, you cannot change countries. Ever. So my primary Google account is doomed for ever more to be a UK account.
Luckily, you can have multiple accounts on the same Android device. So I am in the slightly strange position in being able to download UK as well as Australian geoblocked apps.
Anyway. All of this probably means I need a lie down.