Using the Google Play Store is pretty simple: you pop it open, search for the app you want to download, and install it on your device. That’s about all there is to it.
But what happens if you move to a different country? You’ll need access to the right regional version of the Play Store for billing information. And Google Play features different apps in various countries, since regions often allow or block access to certain apps.
Whether you’ve recently moved or want to try accessing another region’s Play Store (which comes with a big caveat), here’s how to change your country setting in Google Play.
How to Change Country in the Google Play Store
Follow the below steps on your Android device to change your Play Store country:
- Open the Play Store app on your Android device.
- Tap your profile picture at the top-right of the screen, then choose Settings.
- Select General, followed by Account and device preferences.
- Under the Country and profiles section, you’ll see your name alongside your current Play Store country. If your phone detects that you’re currently in a different country, you’ll see a Switch to the [region] Play Store option below.
- If this option doesn’t appear, see below for more info.
- Under the Switch to the [region] Play Store header, tap one of the options to add a payment method for your new country. This will vary by region; most should at least have the Add credit or debit card option.
- When you tap the new method, a warning will appear (which we discuss further below). Review the warning prompt and hit Continue if you’re OK with the terms.
- Proceed through the prompts to add a new payment method for the country you’re switching your Play Store to.
- Once you’ve switched countries, you’re now able to browse the Play Store for that region. The change may take up to 48 hours to go into effect.
The option to change your Play Store country won’t appear for everyone. It only shows up if you were previously in a different country than you are now (based on IP address). This means you can’t just switch your Play Store to any country that you feel like. In the above example screenshots, we used an Android VPN to change our location to Argentina.
If you’ve previously changed your country in the Google Play Store, you’ll have the option to switch between your old and new accounts, if you wish. This is helpful if you moved abroad for a few years and then returned home.
If you use the Google Play Family Library feature, you also won’t see the option to change your Play Store region. Unfortunately, unless Google comes up with a better workaround, you’ll likely need to dissolve your current family group and start a fresh one in your new region (if it’s supported there).
Warnings About Changing Your Google Play Store Country
Before you change your Google Play Store region, you must be aware of a few important points.
First, you cannot use your old payment method with your new account. You’ll have to use the one from your new country. Keep in mind that you might lose access to some apps and other content if they aren’t available in your new country.
After swapping Google Play to a new country, you can’t spend your Google Play balance from the old country. That includes any gift cards you’ve added but not spent yet, as well as credit earned from Google Opinion Rewards. If you ever switch back to the old account, you will regain access to that balance, however.
You will also lose access to Google Play Points when you switch countries, and your level will not transfer to the new region. If you subscribe to Google Play Pass, that subscription will transfer to your new country if the service is available there. In the event that Play Pass isn’t available in your new country, you won’t be able to install any more apps from Play Pass in your new region.
Importantly, you can only change your Play Store country once per year. You won’t see the option to change your country if it’s been less than a year since your last change.
Because of all this, we recommend changing countries in the Play Store only if you’ve actually moved countries, have a permanent payment method for the new country, and plan on staying for at least a year. While you can trick this by using a VPN, or might want to access another country’s store while visiting, it’s not worth doing for short-term access to a few new apps.
If you do, you’ll be locked into a Play Store outside your actual region for quite some time, which will be a big pain. That assumes you’ll be able to get a payment method for the country you want to switch to, as well.
If You’re Unable to Change Your Country in Google Play
If you want to change your country after reading all the above warnings, but the option won’t appear, make sure you haven’t changed your country recently. In case the option still won’t appear or fails, you should first try updating the Google Play app.
To do this, tap your profile picture at the top-right of the Play Store, choose Settings, and go to About. Under Play Store version here, you’ll see an Update Play Store link. Tap that to start an update; it will show a notification if you’re already up to date. If there’s an update, wait a few minutes, then close the Play Store app and try again.
If this doesn’t work, try clearing Android cache and data for the Play Store app.
Change Your Play Store Country or Try Another Store
Now you know how to change your Play Store country. It’s an easy process as long as you’ve actually moved countries and have a valid payment method in your new area, but make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Meanwhile, if you want to access new apps without switching Play Store regions, you’ll find lots of alternative places to download Android apps that aren’t available on Google Play.