While most content is made available across the world, every so often there is an app for the iPhone or iPad that is only available in the US app store. For example, the BBC News app which has been written by the BBC has been blocked for release in the UK pending a review by the BBC Trust. However it is available in the US App Store. The Newspaper Publishers Association should take a bow. However it’s a fairly painless process to setup a US account allowing you to grab the app’s that aren’t available in the UK
- Open iTunes and sign out of your current iTunes account. Note that it’s easy to swap between accounts and you won’t lose any of your content doing this. Click on iTunes store but you will want to navigate to the US store. Move to the bottom right of the store, click on the UK flag, then select US store to open the US iTunes store.
- Next, find a free app that you want – any app will do as long as it’s free. Click Buy and you will be prompted for a login. At this point select ‘Create New Account’
- After accepting the terms and conditions, enter your details including an e-mail address different to your current iTunes account. Click continue.
- You will now be asked for a payment method – click None on the right hand side of the payment options.
- You will then be asked for an address. Enter a US address – Google or Bing maps are your friend. Search for a hotel, business – anything really as long as you can get the address and post code (or zip code as it’s known over there).
- The next step is to verify your account. You will receive an e-mail from Apple with the obligatory click on the link step to authenticate the address. Once done you have a US iTunes account.
That was painless. Obviously, if you have a credit card with a US postal address you can set up payment details. If you really need a pay for app from the US store, then you can buy iTunes gift cards online either from eBay (be careful though – reports of quite a few scammers) or more reliably via Maximus Cards.
The US account isn’t just accessible via iTunes on your home computer. Fire up iTunes on your iPhone or iPad, logout of your current account and enter your US account details. You can then download directly to your device and it will be synced back to your home machine at the next sync. You can grab content from multiple accounts and sync to your devices without fear of losing any. So what app’s are worth grabbing?
Well, BBC news is a pretty obvious one. A universal app that works better on the iPad than the iPhone, it’s more visual, like Pulse adder, to give you quick and easy access to today’s news. Bing app gives you quick access to a variety of search options. One useful addition is visual searching similar to Google Goggles. Scan a barcode or front of a book or DVD and search results with a variety of prices will be returned. There is also voice searching but it is not as accurate as Googles voice search. Speaking of voice, Dragon Dictate will turn your voice notes into text. I’ve had mixed success with the app but I put that more down to Glaswegian dialect than the app as it’s got great reviews.
So there you have it – with just a few simple steps you can access app’s even if they aren’t available in your region.