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Google Play Store country blocks
Many of the applications that can be downloaded in most digital stores, such as the Google Play Store, are location-dependent. So if you’re in Country A, the apps available to you might be different from the apps available to someone in Country B.
Why the difference? Well, the reasons vary. A major consideration involves copyright laws and regulations. However, it could also boil down to app developers choosing the wrong options when they upload their app.
Most of the time, these restrictions aren’t a problem. Indeed, most people don’t even know this happens. But what if you’re travelling abroad and you want to download your favourite app but it’s unavailable? The simple solution is to change the country setting in the Google Play Store back to your home country.
To determine which country you’re in, Google Play Store simply uses the IP address of the server you use to connect to the internet. But it’s very possible that while the server you’re using is physically in your country, your IP address’ country of registration is in a different country. Geo-blocking technology can then prevent you from accessing apps that should be available in your country.
If you’re lucky, you can simply open the Google Play Store app on your Android device and change the settings. Open the left menu and select the Account option. If the country-switching option is available, you’ll see a “Country and profiles” section in this menu. Tap the country display and choose your new country.
If you’re unlucky, you won’t have the country-switching option available. This restriction leaves you with two possibilities. You can jump on a plane and fly back to the country you want to use in your Google Play Store app settings. Or, you can go with the more convenient option, which is to use a VPN service and connect to a server in the country you want to use in your Google Play Store app settings. This action sets the IP address of the server you use to connect to the internet from the right country.
So, you’ve decided to connect to the Google Play Store via a server located in the right country. You’ll need a VPN service. Here are a couple of crucial things you need to know before getting started.
One word of caution: Bypassing the country-specific controls of the Google Play Store may be against its terms of service. So if you’re caught, your account may be disabled.
A VPN acts as a middleman between your device and Google Play servers. It masks your location by running all your internet traffic through the VPN company’s servers in a country of your choice. So, if you connect to a VPN server from a different country, then Google Play Store will believe that you’re in that country. This option will allow you access to the apps not available in your current country.
You’ll first have to find a VPN provider that works with Android and Google Play Store. Most free VPNs available won’t work because their IP addresses are banned by Google Play Store to stop people from overcoming regional content restrictions.
The best option is to choose a premium VPN provider such as NordVPN. This product has thousands of IP addresses that are regularly updated and replaced when banned by services such as Google Play.
NordVPN also has an excellent Android app (see our full discussion of the best VPNs for Android here).
Next, you’ll have to install the VPN app on your Android device. Once you’ve signed up a VPN account at the provider’s website, you’ll receive a link with the app. If you choose NordVPN (recommended), then the installation will be quick.
After this, just launch the app and then log in using the details you used when you signed up for an account.
Once launched, the VPN app will present you with a list of locations to securely connect to. You’ll have to choose a country that you know has access to the app you want to download.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred country, you’ll have to press “Go” or “Connect” (depending on the app you use).
It will then take around five seconds to establish the connection and change your Google Play Store region and IP address.
After you’ve set up the VPN, to change your Google Play Store region and IP address, you’ll have to open the Google Play app and press the “Clear Data” and “Force Stop” buttons.
This step is essential. Without it, the Play Store app may not recognize your updated region and IP address.
The step is necessary because the app saves all the settings you used the first time you started the app. It won’t check your settings (e.g. IP address, location) every time you turn it on. So even if you’ve changed your IP to a different country with the VPN app, unless you delete your old Play Store settings, it won’t recognize the new IP.
If you’ve completed all the steps, you can head to the Play Store and search for the app you want to download. If the app was previously unavailable in your country, then it should be available now if you chose a server and IP address located in a country that has access to that particular app.
If you want to change your Google Play Store region yet again, then you’ll have to change the VPN server and reset your Google Play settings back.