The Google Play Store is home to many fantastic (and not so fantastic) apps for use with your Android smartphone or tablet.
Following in the footsteps of Apple's “App Store” (which in and of itself was an idea taken from homebrew app stores such as “Installer” and “Cydia” that were created when the first iPhone and iPod Touch came out, all the way back on version 1.1.1 if you can believe it!) the Google Play Store is the go-to store for Android users.
It is the case that many apps, especially the bigger ones, are released in different regions first. An example of this would be Pokemon Go, it took a while to make its way to the rest of the world after the US and Japan. You can get past this staggered release methodology by simply changing your Google Play Store region.
What you will need
- Android device
- VPN Provider (preferably with their own Android app)
- Internet Connection
There isn’t much needed to change Google Play Store region, most likely all you will need to search for is a VPN provider. It is important to find one that offers an Android app, or at least one that offers PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN functionality (which any VPN provider worth their salt will).
One that offers their own app will simply make the whole process a lot less involved and allow you to get your geo-blocked app as quickly as possible.
Step one – Finding a VPN provider
Choosing the correct VPN provider depends heavily on which region you want access to.
Here are our three recommended providers with more information why below them:
ExpressVPN is a good choice if you are looking to switch between a multitude of countries as they offer server locations in 154 countries. It costs $12.95 a month or $8.32 a month if you subscribe for the year. That is a lot of money if you are planning on just using it for a couple of apps. If you intend to be switching all the time and downloading many apps, ExpressVPN is a safe and reliable option.
If you are looking for apps in just the United States and aren’t planning on downloading apps from a foreign store all the time, CactusVPN is a great choice. They offer many different US servers and it costs just $5 a month (though currently, a promotion is taking place making it just $3.49 a month). For the year it is just $60 (currently just $27.29, an absolute bargain).
TunnelBear is a good choice as well, they offer 500MB of data a month for absolutely free. If you aren’t planning on using over 500MB worth of data, and are only interested in the US Google Play Store, then the Little Bear package may be a great choice for you.
All three of these providers have Android apps, so they are ideal an ideal way to change Google Play Store region.
Step two – Install your VPN providers Android app
Simply search for the name of your VPN provider in the Google Play Store and install it onto your Android device. Depending on how your VPN provider this process may be a little different but usually once it is downloaded you simply log in with your account credentials. This then gives you access to all your VPN provider has to offer.
Step three – Connect to the VPN server of your choice
Depending on which store you want to access, you will need to connect to a server that is based in that location. In terms of which protocol to use, this isn’t such a big deal, if privacy is important just don’t pick PPTP, it isn’t secure and has been cracked for almost 20 years now.
For those that don’t have an app from their VPN provider, L2TP is a good choice as it is natively supported by Android. OpenVPN is another option as they have an app that allows you to use the OpenVPN protocol on Android but it is a little fiddly to setup as you have to copy profiles over to your device.
You will know you are connected as in the top right-hand corner of your phone, a little key symbol will be present. This shows your data is now being routed through a VPN.
Step four – Clearing current Google Play Store settings
On your Android device, make your way to the “Settings” page. From the “Settings” page you need to find the “Apps” category and select it. Under the “Downloaded” tab, search for the “Google Play Store” app and tap it.
Now press the “Clear Data” and “Force Stop” buttons. This will remove all of the current information the Google Play Store app has about your device, essentially turning it back to when you first opened it. This is important as the Google Play Store app keeps a note of which location you first accessed the store from.
Step five – Enjoy the Google Play Store region of your choice!
All that remains to be done now is to simply reopen the Google Play Store. You will notice if the region has changed just by looking at which currency is being used. If you are wanting to access the US Google Play Store and you see US dollars you can rejoice and download whatever app takes your fancy.
Repeat steps three through five for each time you want to change Google Play Store region.
That is all it takes to change Google Play Store region, it takes all of five minutes to gain access to a whole world of apps (that for some reason only exist in certain select regions).
If you enjoyed this How-To guide, please feel free to share it with those you feel can benefit from being able to change Google Play Store region. If you have anything to add, please let us know in the comments section.