How to access iTunes Store from restricted location

I recently posted about how it was impossible to access the iTunes Store if you were in one of the Channel Islands such as Guernsey or Jersey. Specifically, when you were updating your account details, it used to be possible to enter your postcode in lower case, or, enter a valid e.g., UK mainland postcode to get around it. This stopped working and all workarounds were essentially dead – the only explanation was that iTunes now uses some geographic IP address matching to check you were physically where you say you were. So it seemed like there was no way around it.

However, I’ve found a way around it.

With a little bit of work, it is indeed possible to get around these restrictions, and it’s quite simple – you just need to trick iTunes in to thinking you’re in a different location to one of the restricted ones. How to do that? Anonymous proxy of course! But a lot of anonymous proxies will only channel your web traffic through your browser, whereas iTunes traffic goes out through its built in browser. The solution is: Hotspot Shield. It’s a small app for Mac or Windows, that sits on your computer. When you connect to it – it, for brevity’s sake – does some clever stuff and basically gets you a new IP address. And yes – an IP address that iTunes will probably think is allowed to use the iTunes store*.

(Using something like Hotspot Shield is recommended if you’re connected to a public hotspot as well on your laptop, since it encrypts all your traffic through a private VPN. For the uninitiated, that’s a good thing, and stops malicious people sniffing what you might be doing. The only downside is it might be a tad slower.)

So there you go. Download and install Hotspot Shield and see if iTunes will play nicely and try updating your account details. Note: you will still need to supply a postcode that is in a valid area (i.e., mainland UK) so pick one. This doesn’t seem to affect your credit card being charged for purchases, though, as I successfully bought and downloaded Flight Control from the appstore which previously I’d never been able to do.

Notes:

* There’s no guarantee that the IP address you get assigned will actually be in a valid region – but, as far as I can tell they’re all US or UK based, so you should be fine. If it doesn’t work, disconnect and reconnect to Hotspot Shield which will give you a new IP and try again.
** Be aware that in using their service, the owners of Hotspot Shield could potentially have access to everything you do. By all accounts they’re a reputable company and recommended by the likes of PCMag, but use your own discretion and common sense – and only connect to it when you have to.
*** You only have to be connected to the proxy when you’re updating your account details. All other times you can be connected to your internet service as normal.
**** It is a free service which seems like you may have to endure some ads now and then. Small price to pay I think if it makes iTunes work.
***** This worked for me and so far I’ve had no repercussions. But if anything dodgy happens as a result of this – you’re on your own!

14 Comments

  1. I just got it to work by using a UK postcode and leaving County blank. I didn’t use Hotspot Shield. Yeehaa!

  2. I have recently (Feb 2010) bought my iphone through sure in Guernsey and have tried all the suggestions above including installin hotspot shield but itunes still tells me I can’t buy even though I have put in my daughter’s London address. It seems as though all these loop holes have been closed and it now recognises where we are. Any ideas? I only want to download some apps not to do anything fancy.
    Thanks

  3. If you’re not bothered about buying stuff and are just wanting to transfer digital copies of movies and whatever to itunes, leave county blank, put London as town and use the postcode N160AB (c.s)for those of you trying to work round it for the same reason as me.

  4. Just to let you know, Hotspot Shield no longer seems to be required in Jersey – you still have to enter a UK postcode though (on JT).

  5. Hey

    I’m in Jersey and I just want to say thanks a lot dude, it worked perfect. My debit card had expired, and I went to update my details but itunes wouldn’t have it. Found your blog, downloaded Hotspot Shield and I used the postcode EC4R 9HA (London). It worked and I just bought an app for my phone, so no problems with payments.

    Thanks a lot…

  6. If you want to buy stuff from the USA iTunes store, there’s an even better way. I use iTunes Access – http://www.itunesaccess.com which charges a fee to setup a genuine USA iTunes account for you. Once you’ve got it setup, you can connect and buy your content no matter where you are in the world.

  7. Jess. Pretty sure using a different postcode is not illegal. But I’m not a lawyer so don’t take my word for it. I can’t see why it should be provided you’re not trying to use someone else’s credit card, for example.

    But be aware the whole process is on the edge of legality – after all, you’re circumventing iTunes’s policies about who can use their software. So that might well be illegal (certainl in breach of their TOS). However, without doing this makes part of the functionality unavailable (i.e., free apps from AppStore) which is probably a breach of the Sale of Goods Act, so iTunes would be in a tricky situ if they actually tried to do anything about it. Which, let’s face it, they’re not going to do.

  8. Is It not illeagle to use a postcode when that is not where you live :S .. please reply soon …

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