How to access free US iPad and iPhone apps in the UK

Apple App Store logo on an iPhone display
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Apple's localisation policy makes some of the more specialised and uncommon apps exclusive to users accessing the US store. This means that while the App store has a great selection of iPhone and iPad apps for its users in the US, UK customers don't always have access to all of these.

There are ways to get around this and have full access to US apps, but it's not always as simple as accessing something such as Netflix in the US. The App Store is far too clever for DNS spoofing, so to access US-specific content you need to set up an entirely new account. This will only work for free apps, but there is another way to download priced ones too.

Sign out

Before you create your new bogus US Apple ID, you'll need to sign out of your legitimate UK one. If you're unsure how to do that, you should be able to find the option in the settings menu in iOS (or iTunes/App Store if you're using a PC).

Switch countries

Once you've signed out of your UK account, scroll down to the bottom of the page and hit the flag icon to change to the US region.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we're switching our location to the US, but you can switch to any region provided they have the apps you're looking for.

Set up account

Once you've selected the US as your location, go to 'create an account' and start the process of setting up a new Apple ID. Fill out all the fields the same as you normally would, although make sure to use a different email address than the one you use with your legitimate App Store account.

Entering billing details

Once you get to the billing information field, however, you'll need to get creative. When it asks for a payment method, there should be an option to select 'none', but you will have to provide a billing address. If you're outside the US, you can enter a random existing address which you can find here.

Be warned, however - providing a fake address to access the App Store is against Apple's terms of service, and may even be illegal where you live, so be sure to check that you're not breaking any laws before proceeding.

Finalise the account

Once you've set this up, finalise the account details, and verify your new account via the confirmation email sent by Apple. You'll now be able to sign in to the US App Store and download as many free apps as you want.

Paying for apps

Of course, without a legitimate US-based payment method, you'll be unable to buy any of the paid apps. Unfortunately, the only way around this is to purchase a US iTunes gift card and add the balance to your account. The gift cards will have to be US-specific, and can be picked up on eBay.

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.