Getting access to another country’s Google Play Store content

In the past, with a rooted Android phone, you could easily switch the Play Store country with the MarketAccess app. The app “simulates” another SIM card for the Play Store app, which used to make its decision on which country’s choice of content you should see based on the (now simulated) SIM card’s origin.

At some point this stopped working, and yesterday I found out that Google Play Store now gives you the Play Store experience of the country that your phone’s current public IP address indicates. Oh no! This is a really dumb decision if you ask me – because now if you travel to a country where no paid apps are available (e.g. China), you won’t see updates for all your paid apps. And of course you can’t buy any new paid apps while you are in that other country.

So now you need access to a VPN or similar technology in your home country, to get the Google Play Store you’re used to. The precise steps are as follows:

  • Connect to your VPN
  • Go to Settings / Application manager and tap the Google Play Store item in the list
  • Tap the “Force stop” button and then the “Clear cache” button
  • Open the Play Store app – now you should see a license agreement question (it comes up every time you switch countries), and after acknowledging it, you should see the content of the country your VPN endpoint is located in

Afterwards you can actually disconnect from the VPN, and Google Play will keep working with the VPN’s country content. But after some time (or a phone reboot, maybe), it will check the IP address again, and present you the content of the country you’re actually in.

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