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Change the country in the Google Play Store: This is how it works!

from Nils

Last updated: January 28, 2021

As the title suggests, it is unfortunately not that easy to change the country in the Google Play Store. I'll explain the reasons for this in a moment. Before that, I'll show you the advantages it has for you if you can change the country of the Google Play Store.

Why should you want to change the country in the Google Play Store at all?

Many apps in the Google Play Store can only be installed in selected regions or countries or on certain devices.

If you are outside of these regions / countries or if you use a different device than the one intended, you will mostly not find the app you want at all. In other cases, you will be shown that the app is not available in your country or that it is not compatible with your device.

This also applies, for example, to the apps from certain streaming providers such as Hulu, the BBC iPlayer or HBO Go. So if you want to use their offers with your German tablet or mobile phone, look into the tube.

Isn't a VPN service enough to bypass these geoblocks?

The rumor persists and is even spread in various test reports on reputable portals. In reality, however, it is unfortunately not that simple. The Play Store does not only identify your location via your IP address.

After all, Google knows you a little better than you think. In addition to the IP address, your Google account data and the payment details in the Google wallet are also used to assign you to a country.

This means that you will not get access even if you are actually in the country whose Play Store you want to use and your account is in another country. In this respect, it is of course not enough to simulate such a stay with a VPN service

How can you change the country in the Play Store?

Overall, this means that in addition to using a VPN service to bypass the geo-lock, you have to create a completely new account in your desired country. If the app you want is not free, you even have to set up a payment option from this country on Google Wallet.

The last point in particular will hardly be practical, because who of you already has a bank account or a credit card from abroad.

What else can you do to get your apps?

Fortunately, you can also install apps from sources other than the Google Play Store on your Android devices. More precisely, you have to get the respective app as an APK file (Android Package) and then install it on your device.

How you get the APK files, how you can install them and what else you have to consider, I'll show you step by step in the following sections.

Where can you get the APK files from?

Basically, you have two different options to get the APK files.

On the one hand, there are alternative sources for apps from which you can download APK files, and on the other hand, you can download the APK files directly from the Play Store with the help of an APK downloader.

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. That's why I'll go into more detail about what these are and how you have to go about them.

How does it work with the alternative app sources?

There are now a number of sites on the Internet where you can find and download APK files. Of course, caution should be exercised with these alternative app sources. Not all of these offers are legal and safe.

Unlike in the Play Store, these apps are not necessarily checked for malware. In addition, you may also be offered illegally cracked apps that would actually have to be paid for.

In this respect, you should be on the safe side and use a virus scanner and a VPN service when downloading APK files from such sites. By the way, if you want to find out more about VPN services, I recommend our detailed VPN provider test 2021.

Which alternative app sources are there anyway?

There are now a number of alternatives to the App Store. In addition to the so-called repositories, in which you get apps that are basically also available in the Play Store, this also includes providers who specialize in free software that is not available anywhere else.

At Amazon, for example, you can get paid apps, some of which are significantly cheaper than in the Play Store, and at F-Droid you get apps from independent app developers that are not available in the Play Store.

In the three examples that I would like to introduce to you, however, I will focus on those where you can find apps that the App Store withheld from you due to geoblocking. I checked this too.

For test purposes, in time for the start of the new season of Doctor Who, I got the BBC iPlayer app from all these sources and installed it successfully on my tablet.

Aptoids

At Aptoide you will find a large selection of apps, including those that are not or no longer available in the Play Store.

There are also some earlier versions of apps there, which is important if, for example, the functionality of apps has been restricted due to Google's restrictive policy.

In other cases, newer versions of apps have compatibility issues that didn't exist before. Even then, the option of “downgrading” (using an earlier version) can help.

By the way, at Aptoide everyone can open their own app store and offer apps. This is precisely why you have to be particularly careful here, as these apps are not checked for malware and both fake and pirated apps are offered.

Uptodown

Uptodown is an app store for various operating systems. There you will find apps for your Android devices as well as apps for Windows, Mac, Ubuntu and iOS devices as well as web apps that run in the browser.

Overall, Uptodown looks very tidy and clear. In addition, according to their own statement, only free, legal and malware-checked apps are offered there.

APKMirror

Under APKMirror you will also find neither pirated nor paid apps. For this, the site explicitly advertises with the offer of apps that are actually not available due to geo-locks, as well as with the option to downgrade and the earlier availability of updates.

The site has a wide range of offers, it looks serious and, according to the operator, the apps offered are checked for malware and viruses before they are offered for download.

How does that work with the APK downloader?

As mentioned above, you can also download the APK files directly from the Play Store. I will explain how to do this step by step. It's best to use your PC or laptop for this, as it is rather difficult to implement the following steps on mobile devices.

In order for it to work, you must first use a VPN service to bypass geoblocking. If you don't, you won't find your app at all or you will be shown that it is not available in your country. You can find an overview of the hottest services in our detailed VPN provider test and comparison 2021.

So you have to get an IP address from the country in which your app is available.

For this example, I'm using our test winner, ExpressVPN, to simulate an IP address from the UK because I want to install the BBC iPlayer on my tablet. After all, as already mentioned, the new season of Doctor Who has just started.

You also have to log out of your Google account and delete your browser data. You can find this in Chrome, for example, under the advanced settings.

Alternatively, you can of course simply use a browser that you do not otherwise use. The Windows users among you probably all still have both Edge and Internet Explorer on board.

If, contrary to expectations, you should use this as your standard browser, you now have an excellent opportunity to try something new. Treat yourself!

When you've completed these steps. You can go to the Play Store and search for your app. However, you cannot install it directly because you would have to be logged in to do so.

Instead you just have to copy the URL from the address bar of the browser.

Then you call up the page of the APK downloader and copy the URL into the field provided for it. Then you can download the APK file with your app.

Final steps to install your APK file

Don't worry, you don't have to set up root access on your device to install the APK files. So-called “rooting” removes certain user rights restrictions that Android devices are normally delivered with.

Such an intervention in the operating system of your device usually leads to the expiry of the guarantee and it can also expose you to security threats. For these reasons it is a very controversial procedure and fortunately not necessary in this case.

However, you have to allow the installation of apps from unknown sources in the security settings of your device. If you call up "Advanced Settings" in the settings of your device, you will find this setting under "Security".

When you've done this, you can copy the APK file to your mobile device and simply run it from there. Then your app will be installed and you can use it as normal.

Conclusion

This topic seems to move many of you, after all, we have received a particularly large number of comments and questions about it.

In any case, you should be aware that there is always a certain risk involved in installing these APK files. To minimize this, you should use your common sense and, for example, not download apps that are chargeable in the Google Play Store. Of course, using an up-to-date virus scanner cannot do any harm.

I hope that I was able to help you with the above. If things are still unclear or if you have comments, criticism or your own suggestions, please use the comment function. I will make every effort to go into everything.