iOS Country Restrictions

Recently my partner and I had a major change in our lives: we moved from Mexico to the US. Besides the fact that an international move has its major challenges in practically every area in life, there is one minor detail I didn’t count on: iOS’ country restrictions.

You see, Apple assigns you a “national” iTunes store according to your credit card’s country of origin. It doesn’t matter if you are now living in a new country, are an exchange student or what have you. Your iTunes store will not change countries unless your credit card does.

That wouldn’t be a major problem, except for the fact that I’m fairly new to the city/country, and don’t yet have a local credit card (though it’s on its way!). Therefore, cool services like Car2Go, Zipcar, and oh! Starbucks Rewards US, are beyond the reach of my crazy-for-iOS fingers. Bummer.

On the other hand, my partner decided to jump the Steve Jobs ship, and moved over to the dark side: Android. He now owns a shiny new Nexus, and as much as a I hate to admit, he has the full US-tech experience that I don’t. He doesn’t have the restriction I do. I’ve never personally owned an Android phone, but just the fact that he can find parking through a local app and I have to circle around for more than 15-min in downtown Seattle to find a spot, makes me want to have one too.

Fortunately, I don’t have to jump over to the dark side since it will be sooner rather than later that I can make the switch to the US iTunes store. But that just made me wonder, what about iOS users who are staying in another country for a short period of time, a few months or even a year? They will have to miss out on local experiences just because they won’t have a local credit card. Did Apple ever thought about this? Is that a deal-breaker for iOS users who want to enjoy what local apps have to offer?

I’ll ask around and tell you the answer soon enough.

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