Tip: How to download apps again after changing the region of your Apple ID (for free)

Apple IDs are associated with a country, usually the one you’re living in. But many of us have changed an Apple ID’s region at some point, and there are a few things to be aware of when you do this.

First of all, an app bought when it was set to region 1 cannot be downloaded in region 2 by default. So if you have a UK Apple ID, purchase Angry Birds, then change your Apple ID to US and look under purchased items, Angry Birds will not show up.

That by itself isn’t a big problem, because the app can still be updated when new versions arrive, and it will also be backed up to iCloud. But should you try to restore your device, you’ll find that only purchases made in your current region will make it onto your device. And that IS a problem!

So the solution is to purchase all apps that are dear to you again AFTER the region change, so that restores can work flawlessly. The great news is that when I say “buy”, it looks more expensive than it is – because it won’t cost you a dime.

Here’s an example

Let me demonstrate. In this example I’ve changed my Apple ID from UK to US. I had previously purchased Pages for iOS in the UK, and I’m looking at it now on the App Store app. Apparently it’ll set me back $9.99.

Before the region change, the price button simply read “open”. Or, if the app is currently not installed on my device, that same button would have a little cloud icon, telling me that I could simply download it for free. But now that I’ve changed to a new region, it looks as though I have to pay again. Lucky for us that’s not the case!


Go ahead and press the $9.99 button anyway, and the system is clever enough to detect that you’ve already bought that item – albeit in another region. It doesn’t exactly tell you this, but it will say that “this update is free because you own a previous version of this item”.


Hit OK to proceed. Doing so will download and install the app and register it again on your current Apple ID’s new region.

That’s it: now you own this item in both regions, but you’ve only paid for it once. Even though it’s not obvious, it’s certainly nice to know that we don’t have to for over money multiple times – especially with pricier apps. Thank you App Store 🙂

Does this trick also work with In-App Purchases?

Pass I’m afraid – I haven’t encountered this scenario yet. I’ll let you know as soon as I do. If you find out before me, please leave a comment and share your findings.

2 thoughts on “Tip: How to download apps again after changing the region of your Apple ID (for free)

    1. Good question, Kostas. I believe Apple are less generous with music. I’ve just tried to download an album again and was presented with the message “You’ve already bought this item. Would you like to buy it again?”

      Sounds to me as if they’re happy to charge me twice for music. I tried this for a book once, and that was downloaded again for free (but then, it was a free book to begin with).


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