How can I download a free US-only iPhone app from the UK
October 3, 2009 9:32 AM   Subscribe

I'm in the UK and want to download a free app that is only available through the US iTunes/App Store. I have memberships of both the UK and US iTunes stores, but unfortunately the credit card on my US account has expired. When it comes to the point at which I download the app (on either the computer or the phone) it asks for an updated credit card. If I could convince someone to "lend" me their iTunes login details for a short while, even if there was no money on their card, would this work? Anyone tried this or willing to help?
posted by skylar to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
buy and apply an itunes giftcard
posted by Gungho at 9:47 AM on October 3, 2009

Response by poster: Sorry, Gungho, that doesn't work. The gift cards are localised and only apply in the country for which they were intended (I have received a French gift card which did not function in the UK.)

Also I don't need funds - this is a free app - I need a way of downloading this through a US account. I am aware that there may be glitches attached to this, for example it's likely that if I upgrade my OS this app will cease to function, but so far as I can see the app download would work if I had a US account to download it through.
posted by skylar at 9:57 AM on October 3, 2009

you could have a friend in the states buy the app via their iphone and let you log in with their email/password combination. (they could change that combination for a moment and then change it again after you're done.) reason being that no matter what phone you are using you can always reinstall apps you already purchased. I have apps from the US and german itunes store on my phone. the german apps are from my boss, who just logged into the german app store from my iphone and installed everything he had purchased anyway.
posted by krautland at 10:12 AM on October 3, 2009

Response by poster: Krautland, that's really good to hear - thanks for letting me know that it is possible.

If anyone on MeFi would like to volunteer their services for this kind of swap let me know. I am entirely trustworthy.
posted by skylar at 10:20 AM on October 3, 2009

I don't know if this will work, but you could try having someone else download it and putting the .ipa file (zip of the app) into your iTunes "Mobile Applications" folder to see if it will sync.

On OSX, all the apps go into ~/Music/iTunes/Mobile Applications .. not sure about Windows.
posted by cj_ at 10:55 AM on October 3, 2009

Response by poster: That's interesting - if anyone knows where the apps go on Windows, please let me know.

By the way, a kind MeFi user was generous enough to lend me a spare account so I can now say that the above was successful. Thank you, MrsShotGlass!
posted by skylar at 10:59 AM on October 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

This may help you. I don't know if it still works, but it did a few months ago.

This will allow you to create a permanent US address for yourself.

I think you'll just need to enter a legit US address. Easy to find on google (I make no claims about the legality of claiming an address that isn't your own and I am not recommending that you do this).

If this fails, hop on over to eBay and purchase a US iTunes gift card for a nominal fee. Apply it to your US account.
posted by smersh at 11:05 AM on October 3, 2009


your suggestion will only work on a jailbroken iPhone, I think. Otherwise, skylar would need access to an account.

skylar, if your phone is jailbroken, then there's an app you need to download to allow this.

Also, if you double-click on the .ipa file, it'll automatically import into iTunes. So, no need to find the folder to place it in.
posted by smersh at 11:07 AM on October 3, 2009

As the others have said, I've had no problem setting up and using an account from another country's iTunes store. It required a gift card from that country, a new email address and a viable physical address/postal code in the target country, but was still fairly easy. But, yes, smersh's suggestions are probably the best to play around with in the future.
posted by neewom at 11:17 AM on October 3, 2009

You can use a paypal account for a US itunes account I believe. I fucked up my mailing address when moving to Germany and had to do that to download apps and use the US store.
posted by CharlesV42 at 11:37 AM on October 3, 2009

Response by poster: CharlesV42 - I tried PayPal but you need a US PayPal account, which is even harder to acquire.
posted by skylar at 12:25 PM on October 3, 2009

Response by poster: I haven't tried this but this is another possible solution:
posted by skylar at 12:26 PM on October 3, 2009

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