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I recently moved countries and had to update my billing address in iTunes (change of full address and credit card info). This went fine, no problems whatsoever. It also meant that I had to change App Stores.

Unfortunately in this process all items from my Purchased list disappeared. If only they're not listed, I don't much care for it, but I'd like to know whether I won't be charged again when I want to update them which would essentially mean re-buying the apps.

  • Have you tried logging in again with the new email? – user6124 Jul 20 '11 at 10:01
  • Yup. No luck. :( – Michal M Jul 20 '11 at 10:05
  • Hmmm, sounds weird. I changed my email address before but never came across this problem – user6124 Jul 20 '11 at 10:06
  • Try changing the country back to the original one, and see if it works – user6124 Jul 20 '11 at 10:09
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    I don't think it's the country that causes it. Might try setting the old email address as the primary one (and login), but don't want to mess things up. Thought I'd ask here first if anyone had ever done that. – Michal M Jul 20 '11 at 10:14
9

So... unfortunately the answer is...

Yes, but there are ways around it...

All the apps you bought in country A are permanently assigned to your AppleID. Once you move to country B and you updated your details (billing address) you:

  • still can use them
  • you cannot re-download them
  • you cannot update them
  • you cannot convert your music to iTunes Plus (but still can listen, obviously)

There are two solutions to this:

  1. Switch Store's country and update your billing details each time you want to get your apps up to date (or re-download them). But this is a rather painful process, so a better solution is to...
  2. Create a new AppleID with the billing details for the country B. Switching between AppleIDs is much easier and quicker than switching Store's country and updating your billing address.

Let me quote why it has to be this way:

[...] this how iTunes has been designed.

So. It's gonna be problematic, but nothing can be done really. :(

  • 1
    More so this is how the backing legal systems are designed. I used to work for an Internet payment company and they have similar constraints – accounts created in one country can't be moved to another because all the agreements that were "signed" (read: you clicked OK on) and the subsequent KYC requirements were to satisfy the laws of a particular country and hence generally not transferrable. TL;DR: blame it on the lawyers and politicians. – adib Dec 11 '15 at 12:25
  • Actually you don't have to pay again as of April 2017. See the answer by @mojuba below apple.stackexchange.com/a/239802/49307 – xji Apr 3 '17 at 14:53
4

In the past you couldn't do this without contacting support. I don't know when Apple changed iTunes on the computers, but you can simply sign in to your account and switch countries as long as you are not enrolled in iTunes Match or carrying a balance on your current store. Cancel or spend down as needed and then you can start the process of switching.

I do not recommend anyone switch countries lightly - there are serious downsides like no longer getting re-downloads, app updates, and general confusion from support since an account that started in one country and migrated to another is an edge case that breaks many assumptions about how the app store works (and doesn't work).

iTunes screen to change your country or region for purchases

Also, I feel the need to reiterate, I do not recommend most people to ever switch an account with any apps you are not ready to simply repurchase to another country.

Losing app updates in the future is hard to guess and this switch is quite disruptive - moreso than juggling two accounts on one device in my experience.

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    Already contacted Apple Support. I really hope there is a good solution as I'm sure I'm not the only one in the world to be affected. – Michal M Jul 20 '11 at 13:36
  • You will have several options - new account is a bad option IMHO - and they can't suspend all past purchases when you move. It's just whether you need a human's help each time you move (to prevent people from gaming the rules continually) or you can simply do it once every 90 days is the nub of the issue. Please let us know! The store people are going to be REALLY BUSY so it might take a while for an answer. Ask again if you don't get an answer in a few days. – bmike Jul 20 '11 at 13:41
  • Exactly, I wish I asked Apple last week. This is going to defer me buying Lion until the question is clearly answered. – Michal M Jul 20 '11 at 14:11
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    Wow - that seems harsh. No wonder people maintain two accounts with two billing addresses - to keep updates alive. – bmike Jun 14 '12 at 14:59
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    I work and live across, the US, UK and Australia and have three apple accounts, one for my wife and I, one for work in the US, one for work in Australia. Similarly we have three AMAZON accounts. It is a pain but it works, if your move is work related try to get them to pay for it. – Deesbek Oct 15 '13 at 21:25
4

There is no problem with switching the billing country as of November 2016 in terms of purchases.

Except, the only problem I had (after completely switching countries, in fact with different currencies) was that my purchase list in the App Store app was empty. It was an all new computer with no previous installations.

Here is how it worked: once I find an app via Search, click BUY, the App Store app says something along the lines of "there is no need to purchase this app because you already own it" and then it downloads it without any problems.

So I suppose Apple fixed it with the only issue being the purchases list.

  • 2
    I can confirm this, I moved from the Netherlands to Belgium and when I bought a new MacBook and wanted to install my apps the purchased list was empty. When clicking and buying the same app again, after clicking on the 'buy app' button you get an message 'This update is free, because you own a previous version of this item.'. Thanks for answering, without this answer I don't think I would have tried re-buying apps. :) – Niels van Reijmersdal Nov 27 '16 at 18:05
  • Wow, this works. It is very helpful to me since I already don't have any credit card in my previous country, meaning I can't ever switch back. This answer should really be upvoted more as of now. I guess Apple somehow found a workaround, but still, they should just also restore the purchase history as well. After one year and a half without Mac I can't exactly remember what apps I bought and used in the first place... – xji Apr 3 '17 at 14:52

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