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The App Store Nightmare (deplinenoise.wordpress.com)
217 points by enqk on Aug 25, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 104 comments

Oh tell me about it. I used to split my time between the US and Brazil, and had credit cards and bank accounts in both. Sometimes apps I'd want would only be on one store, and sometimes only on the other.

But Apple simply doesn't allow for people who reside in multiple countries, and have credit cards in multiple countries. I guess that lifestyle doesn't fit the "Apple way" -- it's thinking too different.

It's absolutely infuriating, above all because you're talking about stuff you paid for.

Apple is all about streamlining and optimizing for the common case. Not providing options for the minority with different preferences. If your lifestyle doesn't match, then you're doing it wrong.

> Apple is all about streamlining and optimizing for the common case. Not providing options for the minority with different preferences.

So "think different" really means "think exactly the same as every other Apple user".

Thanks, that explains a lot.

Huh? How is it "doing it wrong" to live on two continents? Apple may not be the optimum choice for the poster, but perhaps they should tell you that when you're browsing stuff in the Apple store.

I don't think he was signalling his actual approval, but merely conveying what he interpreted to be Apple's assessment of his lifestyle.

Apple thinks he is doing it "wrong" because he isn't fitting into one of the common cases they bothered to plan for.

This comment serves to both emphasise that Apple ignores the long tail and that Apple has the tendency to get people to think that they are "wrong" for wanting something Apple does not currently provide. See: people talking several years ago about why anyone who wanted copy/paste in iOS didn't understand why that was unnecessary.

My apologies for singling you out with this, but many people seem to be jumping on this bandwagon all too much and I've about lost my patience with it. This isn't something that Apple, or Amazon, or Netflix, or Hulu etc. can take the blame for in my opinion.

Dealing with multi-national accounts is terribly complicated, especially when it comes to selling the content that Apple does. I imagine it would be extraordinarily difficult to convince music labels, TV producers, Movie studios etc. to provide the earliest possible access to their content at reasonable market prices if Apple were to say "we have millions of customers with credit cards, but that regional release restriction thing you like so much, yeah you're going to have to let that go because we allow a single account to pay using credit cards from multiple countries and they might actually, you know, be in another country at the time they buy something." All content companies face this issue, just try watching Netflix or Hulu outside of the US and compare what you can and can't get access to.

It's a backwards way of doing things in the internet age, but I haven't seen anyone who's found the key to get passed the gatekeepers yet and until someone does, we'll continue to be stuck with this problem.

> See: people talking several years ago about why anyone who wanted copy/paste in iOS didn't understand why that was unnecessary.

When did this happen? I don't recall anyone saying any such thing. I do recall many being very frustrated, but nevertheless reiterating Apple's position of "well release it when it's ready" despite the genuine need that any solution would have been better than no solution.

Apple doesn't ignore the long tail nor do they actively try to convince people that they don't want what they want. They do seem to take their sweet time in putting a solution out there if they don't happen to think the solutions available work very well.

No need to apologise, I don't know what the current multinational account setup with Apple is like since I have never had to experience it myself, I am going entirely off what people like crazygringo have talked about.

I fully understand that licensing contracts from third parties will always make the entire experience suboptimal. I expect hiccups. I don't know if Apple has some sort of system available where upon calling a CS rep they can link two accounts in their system to iron out their customer experience. Something like that seems like it would be a good system that would provide a better user experience while still keeping their system aware of licensing restrictions. I don't know if that exists already, or what, if anything, Apple does for customers in that sort of a position. All I do know is that I have only heard complaints. At least from their perspective, they feel as though they are being ignored.

> Apple doesn't ignore the long tail

I think we will have to agree to disagree there. I don't want to get into some sort of flamewar. I should probably point out that ignoring the long tail is a complaint I have with most companies out there in the consumer space right now, not just Apple. I think it is a reality of having finite resources and rapid release cycles while trying to target the general public.

> nor do they actively try to convince people that they don't want what they want.

I agree. I don't know what causes it, but I think it is a phenomenal that appears by itself. With the copy/paste example, I never once heard the "You are wrong for wanting that" line from Apple, but I heard it numerous times from friends at the pub or whatever when I would poke fun of them for lacking it. (If you want to see examples of it, you can probably find them buried in the comment sections of slashdot on articles from a few years ago. Not exactly the standard of mature discussion, I know..). I think this phenomenon (specifically, people making up poor excuses for a company who they have no association with. Excuses that do not have anything to do with the reality of the situation.) is not something that Apple has deliberately created.

It seems to be something that happens any time people people are loyal fans of something and are exposed to often times very repetitive criticism. It seems very similar to post-purchase rationalization to me, though obviously with a different root cause.

Examples of the phenomenon outside of Apple fans, off the top of my head, may include: defence of politicians (specifically, giving excuses for politicians being politicians. Things like: "He can't follow through with his election platform because he has to get elected again!" or "Well he would, if not for those meddling [other party people]!"), defence of the nuclear power industry (I am likely guilty of this one), and defence of various segments of the auto industry.

Several examples of this in the auto industry seem apparent to me. Telsa fans claiming that going more than 300 miles is unnecessary is probably one that the HN crowd is most familiar with (and one that I think I am also guilty of). (The response you see to 300 mile complaints is not "Well yes, that is the best we can do with batteries today" but rather "You are weird for needing more than 300 miles".) Actually, this is probably the best comparison to the what we see among some Apple fans, since both items are a luxury good that are held back by some technical realities.

That doesn't mean that people can't complain about it. They could have easily supported multiple locations and credit cards and still streamline the process, and the only users who'd have to deal with it are the ones who need to use the feature.

I think you didn't pick up on ddlatham's sarcasm. :)

There are many people who actually think that way. C.f. Poe's law

Is this a joke? If so, nice one.

"Doing it wrong." Brilliant.

It seems to have been intended as a sarcasm; from Apple's point of view you shouldn't be doing crazy things like moving from one country to another.

You never really own anything you buy from iTunes, Amazon Digital, Google Play etc. You're really just renting.

I think that's a bit misleading because iTunes and Amazon also sell DRM-free music, which I don't know the legal implications of, but at least there are no ridiculous technical problems here.

Also, if the App Store _sold_ software, that still wouldn't mean that the upgrade process would necessarily be flawless. (OTOH, then we could all just use Sparkle again, which has worked without a hitch for me since 10.4.)

>But Apple simply doesn't allow for people who reside in multiple countries, and have credit cards in multiple countries. I guess that lifestyle doesn't fit the "Apple way" -- it's thinking too different.

Yes, the irony is very fitting, because as we all know some evil masterminds at Apple HQ are all about making it difficult for non-conformists to have credit cards at multiple countries.

Or you could arrive at the rational conclusion that dealing with different countries, tax systems, economic agreements, copyright laws, regulations, accounts, currency exchanges et cetera AND tracking all that is


that despite being a very lucrative outcome for those who manage it, VERY VERY few entities have managed to somewhat overcome those problems a worldwide basis. Namely, Paypal (I did say "somewhat"). And this bloody mess has nothing to do with Apple or any specific company.

Just because we got worldwide connectivity via the internet 20 years ago, people expect boundaries between 200 countries with widely varying economic systems, allies, agreements they participate in, level of technological sophistication, willingness to change their laws, etc etc, will suddenly be unified into one harmonious system so that people can have iTunes accounts in both California and the Congo?

You mean buying an app for personal use in the US and then taking your laptop to Sweden means you have to pay Swedish tax on that app? Or, please explain how any of the reasons you mentioned affect it.

The way I (or everyone) sees it is: it's like a USA shop selling software in USA to someone in USA, and a Swedish shop selling software in Sweden to someone in Sweden. Where is the problem?

Anyway, to add to the discussion, the OP left out option 4: get a VPN in Sweden and/or USA and connect and route all traffic. Works for me.

>You mean buying an app for personal use in the US and then taking your laptop to Sweden means you have to pay Swedish tax on that app?

No, but that is not what the guy did. He bought the app in the US and then went and changed to a brazilian iTunes store account, with a brazilian credit card and brazilian address.

>The way I (or everyone) sees it is: it's like a USA shop selling software in USA to someone in USA, and a Swedish shop selling software in Sweden to someone in Sweden. Where is the problem?

There could be several. For one, the developer of the app might only opted to make it available in some iTunes stores, not all of them, e.g only in the US store. Should a US customer with a brazilian bank account, address and credit card be able to use it? They could add some multi-account management and tracking into iTunes for such cases but it can get messy, plus: "opportunity cost".

Second, several apps cannot be sold in some countries for reasons of copyright, export/import restrictions (e.g crypto code), trademark disputes, etc.

For example, if I had a penny for every time I see a youtube video or iTunes movie, app or song, that is "not available in my country" I would be rich.

It's not like Apple or the media company doesn't want my money. It's that they have agreements to honor, they have to work with regional monopolies and players, they might want to milk other options first that are more lucrative to them (e.g sell DVDs), they want to adhere to the local schedules (e.g we get new episodes of us series several months after the original airing).

So, part of it is problems with global logistics, trade and accounting and part of it is business interests.

Paypal didn't sort this out. It's the same as for the App Store. Your account is bound to one given country and when you move to another country you are supposed to close the account and re-open another one. In addition, you can only link bank accounts to Paypal if they're in the same country as the Paypal account. Also, you can set your address in Paypal to a foreign country.

so you are supposed to rebuy everything you bought on itunes?

and this is reasonable?

Nope - it's not. And for me also the Paypal behavior is broken, as I'm resident of multiple countries. Just wanted to point out that the above statement about Paypal was wrong.

For a positive example look at the Google Play Store: The apps that I bought in one country are available in any other country. The only exception are apps that aren't available in a given country. They don't disappear from my phone, but I can't update/reinstall them until I'm in a country where they are available

No, it's not reasonable from an end-user perspective. Certainly not. But attributing this restriction to malice aforethought is just ridiculous.

Lest anyone think the problem is solely with juggling accounts across different geographies, here are some examples of how broken the whole Apple ID user experience is, even for people whose digital life never leaves the US:

- It's impossible to merge accounts or move purchases from one account to another, even if they are associated with the the same credit card information

- If you have ever at any point used an email address as the alternate contact on an account, it becomes impossible to make that address the primary contact and ID on that account

- If your Apple ID was created with an Apple email address (e.g., ...@me.com, ...@mac.com), it's impossible to change that email address

Millions of people have content scattered across multiple accounts in part because Apple merged several formerly separate accounts (iTunes, Developer, .Mac, etc.) into the Apple ID system. Yet Apple has made it impossible to unify your user experience.

To add to the absurdity, several Apple services still demand that you create a new Apple ID in some situations (particularly when your account was created for a service that pre-dated the Apple ID system).

And then there are the cross-border problems. ...

One other problem: You cannot change the credit card details on your account if you are currently mid-way though a TV season you have purchased

Wait a minute. I see all sorts of problems with this. So what do they do if your card expires this month?

For point number 2, simply delete the "rescue address" and then change the primary ID to that email address you just removed.

Primary contact on the account has now been changed.

I've done this—I've even added a different rescue address to try to override whatever's in the database—and still get the message, "Your Apple ID cannot be the same as your rescue email address." ... Totally inexplicable.

I just went through the steps and was able to switch my email address without issues...

Do you have your backup email address in use on another Apple account?

No. That's the separate "it's impossible to merge accounts" point. (I have four separate Apple IDs for two countries.)

A lot of the bizarro stuff going on here, I think, is because accounts with different histories (e.g., what service they originated with) are still handled differently behind the scenes. It makes no sense, but things really do seem to be path-dependent.

> So this leaves me with the following options:

> 1. Completely nuke my machine, create a new US Apple account and repurchase everything (yeah, right)

> 2. Pay $49 to have Apple Support look into the issue

> 3. Give up and use Linux (I hear Windows 8 will have a locked-down App store too)

As a Linux user, the fact that Apple developers are seriously considering moving to Linux makes me very excited. If even 1% of the disgruntled devs decide to go with #3, there will be significant effects in the Linux community. The Linux community is overwhelmingly biased towards the neckbeard crowd, which doesn't care about things like UI/UX. If some of the Apple devs come in and start contributing, things could change quite rapidly.

It probably depends on how much longer the iOS gold rush lasts. I think a lot of developers are on OSX (and very defensive of it) because it represents their gravy train. If the market stabilises or dies down, a lot of people will probably switch over to Linux.

What's left after the gold rush is a stabilized market. The market for iOS is still huge and growing. There are differences because gold is a finite substance. There will always be an iOS market for apps where once there was none before the App Store existed. After the gold is depleted, there no longer remains a market for gold and the gold rush is over in that instance.

The iOS gold rush is long since over. Very few devs are making real money on apps now. The consulting market is pretty hot though.

I'd think Windows would be more up their alley due to the similar lack of customization options.

Oh, right. I forgot the hip factor. Windows is too uncool now, after all those Mac/PC commercials.

It's just grandstanding. You can't get your favorite TV shows or apps on Linux.

> You can't get your favorite TV shows or apps on Linux.

I would agree with TV shows not being legally available as easily on Linux as on Mac or Windows, primarily due to the lack of support for Linux from Netflix. That doesn't affect me personally, since I just pirate everything anyway, and there are a dozen different Linux video players you can pick from if you've got a DRM-free x264-encoded video file.

Either way, when one is developing, access to TV shows isn't exactly a big concern.

As for apps, I don't see the big deal, especially for development work (and it's developers we're talking about here). All the necessary tools for webdev are available.

I'm able to watch shows just fine using Amazon Instant on Linux. What makes you think this isn't possible?

The writing's been on the wall for a very long time now. This is just another symptom of the continuing clamp down of OS X.

The App Store was the first manacle, and Gatekeeper is the second. It's no longer the default that you can install apps from outside the Apple walled garden. I'll go out on a limb and guess that a couple of OS X versions from now they'll move the override to an obscure command line. The next one after that it will be removed completely.

The sort of Kafkaesque nightmare this poor guy just went through will become the norm, with no way to escape it.

Personally I moved away from the Apple ecosystem a long time ago to Linux. At first I felt bad for the people left behind, but with each new story about non-upgradeable and repairable hardware, needless (and dangerous) patent litigation and the continuing iOSification of OS X, I feel less and less sympathetic towards them.

Most of us can't just move to Linux. Using Adobe software on Wine is crap, the app selection is a thousand times smaller and lower quality.

Simply having a Fireworks-compatible (and good) app would go 80% of the way...

Exactly. I'm much happier overall on a Linux machine but I have to be able to deal with Photoshop and to a lesser extent Fireworks. If Adobe ever makes a non-crap port of either of these to Linux I will be the first in line with cash in hand to buy it.

> I'll go out on a limb and guess

It isn't on a limb to repeat the nonsensical accusations that your ideology has been spewing all over hacker news for the past four years (and everywhere else too.)

Of course its also something that would never happen, if you are honest about how Apple operates.

You can even install unregulated software on a stock iPhone..... just downloaded from the net. Javascript Apps were there a year before the AppStore-- full apps, that run without a net connection and have access to the full iOS UI.

Of course this fact is inconvenient to the "Apple monopoly" story and so you guys never mention it and probably many of you who have never used iOS or developed for it don't even know about it.

We don't need your sympathy-- we're living much better lives with more freedom here on Apple's platform.

I'll take Steve Jobs and his compatriots looking out for my ass over Richard Stallman dictating my life, down to my very thoughts, any day.

Oh that's wonderful, the entire UI. Not the hardware, can't go very fast, but you have the UI!

Something that's as sandboxed as a web page is not a proper program. If that's the only thing you can install without explicit apple approval then it's not good enough.

> AFAIK there are no DRM or geolocation limitations on farming equipment yet.

There are limitations on where you can use seeds, though. And countless regulations on what fertilisers you're allowed to use. Modern farming possibly has as much if not more controls and restrictions in place!...

Every time I read another news article about Apple's crippling DRM systems, I am reminded of the words from their 1984 commercial...

"Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology – where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!"

You can't say they ran a bait-and-switch or anything; they laid out their plans right at the start. Viewers were confused about which character in the commercial represented Apple...

Unfortunately, very little is going to change as this does not affect a large proportion of users. The majority of users will not realize what they lose because of drm and region segregation.

Another reason why allowing side-loading is essential. Giving too much power to a company over your digital life is a mistake. All those problems could be avoided by directly contacting the developer of the app and asking for a file to upgrade. In this context, Android is superior to iOS.

Oh yes, such a nightmare. I moved from Germany to the UK, 2 app store accounts. Then I moved from the UK to the US, 3 app store accounts. I am consistently switching accounts and accidentally repurchasing apps ever since. Luckily, it seems, that with iOS 6 at least you can update all apps, no matter which region they're from (how ridiculous that already sounds), without typing in passwords/switching accounts over and over again.

I would have thought that he may have rights under Swedish law. I think EU consumer law should allow it to be raised with Apple in Sweden.

Practically a proxy in Sweden might be the easiest temporary workaround.

Consumer rights in Sweden are a joke.

They can't be worse than in the US, right?

Apple and the Cloud have never got along well, so I don't think this is a move from Apple to make your life miserable, rather I think it's just that their account system is well... shit, but there are ways to work around it.

I was in exactly the same boat a little over a year ago, so I will simply write this with the assumption that not much has changed. When I was moving to the states from Sweden I did some research into what to do with my iTunes account, and found a large number of discussions going on about the subject. The common suggestion was that once you change region, you should do a clean install on your iOS device or OSX and install it in the new region from scratch. If you change region and try to update things will get messy pretty fast, or so I was told.

He's right that you lose all records of installed apps, but if you try to buy them again in the new region, Apple does recognize that you already own the app and does not charge for it again. It's a shame that things on the internet are region-bound, it's one thing I hope will disappear in the not too distant future, but for now such is life (applies to music/movies as well).

Apart from the above annoyance though it has worked great so far, my account is the same as if I had created a US one from scratch. Also, i'm pretty sure I could update my US bought apps and rent movies on iTunes when I was in sweden 2 months ago, so not sure what the whole IP thing is.

Is everyone sure that it is not this bug here in disguise?


I got the same error message and I have made all my purchases from one account, in one region. Spotlight looks okay and I just gave up on the MAS. Didn't seem like a draconic regulation to me though, more like Apple's typical ineptitude on the cloud.

Actually, if you plant hybridized seeds, you have to buy seeds each year since you can't grow your own seed crop. That's farmer DRM.

If you go organic and plant all heirloom/non-hybrid seeds then you won't have that problem. That's kind of like switching to Linux.

I have a Canadian iTunes account and live in the US. It works just fine for me. I can still buy apps and update them, on iOS and Mac. I haven't encountered any IP issues. The only downside is that I need to keep using my Canadian credit card, and there are some apps I can't download but could use, like Spotify.

Yes, tying the region of the account to the region of the credit card is a pretty damn flexible way to do it, given the movie and music companies are forcing them to tie their sales to regions.

Much better than the IP address BS you see from other companies.

It's not just the AppStore. Everything involving DRM is the same bullshit: they have to tie content available to countries, and come up with all sort of insane restrictions to cover their legal asses and keep you from consuming... bits. In the end their software is such a hairy ball that it doesn't even make sense anymore. Why is the AppStore even checking which IP you are on? Now you can't update your apps because you're traveling? WTF??!?!

I'm from Brazil and I face the same crap everyday, everywhere: YouTube videos not available in my country, Rdio albums not available in my country, AppStore apps not available in my country, et cetera

Then they ask why nobody respects copyright? It's not only free, but actually more convenient to just crack software and download music on PirateBay than trying to buy it in the first place.

> If this is any indication of the future of software distribution in general, I think I’m going to just give up and go into farming. AFAIK there are no DRM or geolocation limitations on farming equipment yet.

It seems the author is not familiar with global biotech company Monsanto and its genetically restricted seeds.

I have almost the same problem. I bought my AAPL with 10.6 in one country, moved to another. I wanted to update to 10.8. So I got a gift card at an authorised AAPL vendor store. I had to register a new AAPL ID, because my other ID didn't accept the code. So I registered a new account for my new card. It happily accepted the money.

I went through all the hoops, pressed "Buy App". I only got the modal boxes: "Please contact iTunes Support to complete this transaction. We could not complete your request. There was an error in the App Store Please try again later. (100)" It ate my money, I cannot use it, and I am left without an OS soon.

I am done with AAPL, and am putting Linux not only on half, but on all of the disk.

It reminds me of the DVD region codes, and the problem of which one to pick, when sending films to the Space Station...

Is the issue limited to Apple? What's about other ecosystems and app stores?

No, it applies to almost every digital store that operates within the law in multiple regions. Why HN is hailing this like the coming of the Apple apocalypse or an "I-told-you-so" opportunity for those who hate Apple is beyond me.

This isn't unique, new, notable or even newsworthy. It's just how digital goods purchases work. Welcome to 2007, people.

Living in multiple countries always has, and always will be a huge hassle when it comes to DRM-ed wares / online shopping (there's usually a tangible benefit from saying that you live somewhere that you're not currently, because of regional pricing etc so providers tend to lock it down). They also have a legal obligation to verify your location to ensure that you're paying the right taxes etc.

If you're in a complex situation where you live in a second country, there's almost always a problem with buying stuff online if you need to bill in one country / ship to the other - and workarounds like needing to create two accounts are pretty common IMO (though usually it's just a case of needing to use a CC from the right country or having the billing address be your address in country A, but having the country field set to country B).

So no, apple's not too unique in this situation, but I've never experienced being unable to access stuff that I bought in one country (though I stay away from buying digital copies of movies etc for this reason), and I've definitely never heard of another company charging for this type of legitimate support, so they're likely unique there.

> and I've definitely never heard of another company charging for this type of legitimate support

Go to support.microsoft.com. File a request for any consumer tech support problem. Boom, before you've even spoken to anyone, you've gotta fork over $59. It actually charges your credit card online before you get to speak to someone.

Apple at least always answers your calls and provides advice before attempting an upsell to AppleCare. With Microsoft, you're going to be shelling out a minimum of $59 just to get them to open a chat window. That's assuming you're using a consumer Windows product. Use an enterprise variant or server OS? That'll be a minimum of $295 to talk to a human.

I'm talking about licensing support, not tech support; and more specifically licensing support of a service rather than a product.

Microsoft don't charge you to talk to a person when you have issues activating windows (and I've never had one of their products break when I changed region). I've never had to deal with any of their services breaking for me (only products) so I'm not sure whether they try to sell you a support subscription when you use eg http://support.xbox.com/en-GB/contact-us?isChatCallAvailable... , but I'd expect it to be free if it fell into the category of "stuff I purchased that you failed to deliver to me".

Microsoft won't even let you move your X-Box Live account to a different country/region. My wife has this problem now since her Live account is stuck in Europe and there's just no way to move it to the US. This is extra troublesome on the X-Box since some games are region locked so she has to order some games from Europe.

I think there may have been some misunderstanding here regarding his App store account though; I also see a comment on his blog indicating this. I moved from Europe to the US and can't remember having any problems moving my account to the US. I can imagine that it's problematic to have two accounts on the same device though.

It's basically a UI problem: while you can authorize content from multiple regions, updates and subscriptions require actually being logged in to the iTunes Store, and you can't log in to multiple regional iTunes Stores at the same time.

I suspect one of the reasons Apple hasn't "fixed" this is because doing so would require renegotiation with content providers, who'd most likely push for even more customer-hostile restrictions.

I moved from an Indian iTunes account to a US Account a few months ago, and I faced similar problems.

As soon as I migrated my account, I was happy too see that it was working fine. Little did I know that Apple does not transfer "Purchases" into the new account. When I called AppleCare, they told me that I will have to manually go through the history of apps I have bought from my account and download them in the US Store. I won't be charged for the apps but this is still going to be a manual process.

In their words, they do this primarily because some of the apps might not be available in the new location store. I mean, WTF?

The least that Apple has done is that I would still receive update notifications on my iOS devices.

Now, note this scenario that I use the same iTunes Account for my purchases in iTunes and also as my primary Apple Developer account.

The account originally being from India, I did not have access to the option of renewing my Dev account online. I moved on and never thought about this issue again.

Last week, it was time to renew my developer account, and I was happy that at least this time I won't have to fax my details to Apple and it will all be a smooth online payment.

NO. Not the case. My Developer account is still an Indian account as per Apple's records and I had to make the payment using fax.

I hope Apple comes up a solution soon, as the current thing just sucks

You also can't use a CC address outside of the country you opened the iTunes account in, and they periodically re-validate that information so when you do give your bank your new address, as of course you will, you're in for even more fun.

So use a poste restante billing address, then, and never change it. Last I checked, picking up one's mail on a regular basis is not required by iTunes Ts and Cs, nor must a credit card remain on file to keep an iTunes account active.

> nor must a credit card remain on file to keep an iTunes > account active.

There is no way to delete credit card information from an Apple Store account, that I see. If you know of one, please do let me know!

There is, although via iTunes and it is a little subtle. It may also depend on your country (but Australia and Peru work).

1. In iTunes, go to your account (iTune Stores, then click on top right login name assuming you're logged in). 2. Edit your Payment information 3. Choose CC type of "None" 4. Save

It is a desirable thing to do if you expect children will be using your iDevices -- the password doesn't stop them buying more $$ stuff after you've just authorised them buying something for free. And I'm assuming you didn't type your password in front of them...

Ah, perfect. Thank you!

I guess didn't think of going through iTunes to remove the credit card I had to add to get the free XCode app via the Mac App Store.... yes, the whole setup is completely insane. ;)

There are so many reasons to stop using Apple, and the number of reasons to jump ship is literally increasing every day.

I'm confident that I will never willingly give Apple any of my money for any of their products or services, simply because I believe they're steering society in a painfully dangerous direction.

I hope people eventually see sense and choose the alternatives that are available; because if the world ends up as an image of Steve Jobs' ideal, it's going to be very depressing place to live.

- there SHALL NOT BE differences of content on the Internet set by physical regions on the Earth! - there SHALL NOT BE on the Internet any laws that are in place for each physical region on the Earth! - the Internet SHALL NOT BE changed ! - the Internet SHALL NOT BE ruled by any Government !

Trivia corner: I got the same dialog box without changing account or IP address.

It turned out that the App Store wants to use the Spotlight index (!) for some reason, and that "Fix permissions" somehow botched it.

"sudo mdutil -i on -E /" fixed the issue.

Let's just hope that nobody thinks about copying this insanely awesome design.

I am forced to browse the Indian app store through my account( I live in India), and i'm sick of the suggestions and the popular list since the people have a pathetic taste for apps here. I have to log out in iTunes and browse the US store to find quality apps.

I want to make sure I got this right. Can I take a trip to a foreign country with a US-purchased and US-registered MacBook and still expect to be able to purchase apps and update existing applications (e.g. XCode) while abroad?

It's disappointing to see the personas that are trying to argue various justifications of Apple's policy on this. Apple's policy is clearly wrong. Arguing in favor of it is foolish.

I'm just going to say - walled gardens suck when they have bugs.

We all know well enough that bugs are an universal constant.

But even assuming software without bugs was possible.

Walled gardens still would suck, by design.

hmm.. there is really a limit of possible combination for the App Store system: user (multiple), credit card (multiple), location (multiple), devices (multiple), authorized computer (multiple) -- times X amount of actions (add/remove/edit/assign/etc)

Time to time a rather rare combination of the above makes the system clusterf*ck and the the post like this one pops up. This makes me believe that Apple engineers are too lazy to... use the UML ??

> If you’re in the US, you can’t download updates for your non-US apps due to IP address constraints.

That's odd. I live in the Dominican Republic and I've been using a US iTunes Store account since 2008. Even when the Dominican iTunes Store opened earlier this year I wasn't affected, I'm still able to purchase/update apps like normal. I don't have a DO iTunes Store account so I guess that has something to do with it.

First world problems.

Yet another example of Apple idiocy (I'm a former customer, having spent easily $100K on Apple hardware).

It became clear to me a year or so ago that Apple is moving in a direction that is anti-developer. At that time I stopped buying their hardware, installed Linux on the Apples I still had, and stopped writing apps for the iPhone. My life has been MUCH easier since then.

We really don't need to be spending any more time dealing with companies like this. We should be collectively writing our own apps for our own open platforms, and forcing them to use the mechanisms that give US control.

Adobe apps are the only reason that I stay on the platform right now.

The problem with this is that iPhone users still make the majority of app purchases. It's all well and good to make proclamations about using our own open platforms but I'd like people to USE the stuff I make...

Google are really the ones causing that, because they've allowed piracy to grow rampant on android. Android has a much larger user base, but google's practices have caused android users to get used to getting everything for free, which together with the ongoing piracy means the market for paid apps is an order of magnitude smaller than it could have been.

I think that's a trade off you will have with an open system, still since I got my android phone I bought many more applications than I ever did on my PC. Having credit card tied to your store account makes it much easier.

Android should be free (GPL) anyway, and there is f-droid.org for free (FLOSS) apps.

I find your last line about forcing people to give you control hilarious since it comes after your (false) claims that another entity was taking control from you.

Sounds like you got bit by an ideological bug more than anything else. I'm sure the quality of the AppStore has improved.

Frankly, after its success we had far to many people "Switch" because they wanted to get rich quick and pump out really crappy apps polluting the store.

And of course they bitched about it at the time, every difference was proof that apple was evil.

I'm tired of the past four years of Apple haters thinking their uninformed ideological nonsense is relevant simply because they are a "developer" and have Apple hardware.

Apple is pro-developer, and unlike google actually practices "don't be evil."

But there are people who hate good and will rail against is day in and day out and call it evil.

What I am seeing is a large number of developers that have been using platform from before iOS was released growing more and more tired of what is happening from Apple.

I also know the a large percentage of business and developers that have relied on Apple consider Apple a risk, or have been bitten in the past and are actively moving away.

Would give examples. but my business can't afford to upset Apple either.

I won't go into trying to get you to see my side, it's clear you can't see anything but the bright shiny world of Steve.

When a company demands 30% of your revenue, even for portions not related to the app, and moves on to a track where developers will be forced to have a cert embedded into their app to be on the platform or be blocked, they ARE practicing evil.

It wasn't Apple that built their customer base, it was the developers who wrote the apps that brought the customers. Without the applications on the platform, Apple would be just like Blackberry, dead.

Now that Apple starts putting all these hurdles in place, like kicking apps because they release their own app in a segment (and disallow ANY competition), despite the fact that an app in that segment has been there for years, it's clear that they are more interested in earnings than building a foundation for developers to earn real incomes.

Just back in May, Apple killed a bunch of apps that used the Dropbox API because they considered it an undocumented or third party API. WTF?? The truth is, Apple didn't want competition with their shitty iCloud service, so they limited what developers could do for their own benefit. One example of THOUSANDS out there.

That doesn't even take into consideration Apple's insistence on NOT allowing any sort of metrics on unique installs.

If you made T-Shirts and a chain said, "just give us the shirts, and we'll tell you how many we sell", YOU would probably do it, but I sure wouldn't.

Apple could be skimming revenues from developers as we speak, and there's really no way to know, since we're not allowed to use any static identifier on the phone to lock the app to a subscriber.

When a company demands 30% of your revenue, even for portions not related to the app, and moves on to a track where developers will be forced to have a cert embedded into their app to be on the platform or be blocked, they ARE practicing evil.

Why? Apple built the platform from the ground up, why is it "evil" for them to demand compensation for selling apps on it? That would make every shop owner in the world "evil", since they all demand a profit margin over the products.

And I don't see the problem with requiring the apps to be signed? Wait, then is Debian evil too? Their packages are sign as well...

It wasn't Apple that built their customer base, it was the developers who wrote the apps that brought the customers. Without the applications on the platform, Apple would be just like Blackberry, dead.

Well, firstly, that's clearly not true. The first iPhone didn't have an App Store for more than an year, and it still sold like hotcakes, with huge lines of people literally sleeping outside the store waiting for it.

Secondly, so what? To bring my previous examples, where would shops be without the manufacturers?

I don't own a single Apple device since I have no interest in getting a phone where the manufacturer has more control than me, but all this talk about them being "evil" is frankly ridiculous.

How many shops demand that any purchases related to your product, performed outside of the store months after the initial sale, must give them a 30% cut? That is the evil part.

Wait, then is Debian evil too? Their packages are sign as well...

Come on, you have to be misinterpreting that on purpose. Debian doesn't require programs be signed, it only uses signing to verify official updates. Even if it did require signing that would be fine by itself. The problem is that Apple requires programs be signed with a certificate that is approved by Apple. If they don't want you to be a developer, suddenly you are no longer a developer. Taking control away from the user over what programs he installs on his device is 'evil'.

I travel full time, and have been living all over the world for the past four years and never had this problem. From Romania to Chile, Venice to England wherever I am, my iTunes works the way I'd expect.

Compared to HULU and Netflix, Apple is one of the best in this regard. I have to get on a VPN to the USA to use my HULU or Netflix accounts, but iTunes just works, globally.

I have a US itunes account, and use it in whatever country I am in with no problem. Apple has never checked my IP address (so I think that's speculation on his part, or a mistake on the part of the support person he talked to.)

It doesn't make sense to have multiple iTunes accounts, and it would be good if Apple would let your merge them.

But it isn't Apple that is making them tied to regions, this is a requirement of the record and movie industries who seem to think that price and release discrimination by region makes sense.

In fact the only time I've had any problems as in Mexico where iTunes Match wasn't working (though Apple has rolled it out there now) but that was likely due to low quality internet, because here in Chile, with no iTunes match, my US iTunes Match is working fine (but a great internet connection.)

I've had no end of problems with them while traveling in SE Asia, including having my account locked several times. If I didn't have a few friends inside Apple put in a word for me I think it's very likely my account would still be locked, with absolutely no explanation as to why.

I've learned the hard way not to go anywhere near the iTunes store without a VPN back to the U.S.

Do you think it might have to do with the specific countries you're in? I've never had an issue with Apple on this but that's from living in Japan and bouncing back and forth between the US/Japan stores. On the other hand, Google usually takes three days or so of warnings before gmail settles down.

Quite possibly. They may have a much lower threshold for fraud detection for countries like Vietnam or Thailand than they do for Europe or Japan.

I have been using my Singapore account in China for more than a year. So far everything is OK.

> But it isn't Apple that is making them tied to regions, this is a requirement of the record and movie industries who seem to think that price and release discrimination by region makes sense.

It is also a problem for Apps. There are loads of apps available in some countries but not others. It's up to the app developer to make them available globally. I understand not wanting to offer your app in countries where it won't work, but it's super annoying when you visit or move to another country to not be able to access them.

Pardon my ignorance, but I am unable to think of a use-case where it's beneficial for an app developer to not allow his app be available globally.

It's a lot of work to set up billing in all the different countries, so they may not have bothered. There are also a lot of legal issue with different privacy laws (Europe being stricter) and censorship requirements (e.g. swastikas in Germany, denigration of Attaturk in Turkey). It's not likely that anyone's actively avoiding global availability, but it may be more worth for a period of time to use their limited resources on making the US version better rather than dealing with those headaches.

When it's fundamentally broken internationally and people start giving it bad reviews when it doesn't work. That's the only case I can think of and even then it's quite weak.

> because here in Chile, with no iTunes match, my US iTunes Match is working fine (but a great internet connection.)

From what I understand, you always had an US account in all the countries you were living. My wife had an US account when we moved to Australia, and it was not possible to access all the content purchased with that account. We confirmed the blocking had to do with the IP address by connecting temporarily through US-based proxies.

It was very difficult to change the US account to be Australia-based. Once this happened we had to re-purchase some apps, but in the end it worked.

My point being that yes: you do find issues when changing the region your Apple account is associated with.

It is not a problem exclusive to Apple. Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo, Google, all of them fail in one way or another.

> It doesn't make sense to have multiple iTunes accounts, and it would be good if Apple would let your merge them.

This is impossible. Apple does not let you merge accounts, no matter how high you jump or how much money you're willing to throw at them.

The only way to do that is to manually repurchase everything on the other account. That is assuming that it is still available of course, otherwise your SOL.

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