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.
* 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!