Tuesday 19 July 2016

Get US-only apps in Canada

The recent Pokemon GO craze ignited my curiosity about how people in Canada get access to apps on their phones that are geo-restricted to other countries. I'm sure I could have researched it but found it easier to just ask my brother-in-law how he did it.

This process works for Android phones, although it should be quite similar to do on iPhone as well.

1) Set up a new gmail account. During the setup process gmail asks what country you are located in, tell them you are located in the country that has the app(s) you want to download during the setup process. In this case I told Google I was in the USA.

2) Add your new country account to your phone. In Android go to SETTINGS  ----> ACCOUNTS ---> + ADD ACCOUNT.  Type in the new gmail address and password.

3) Install Tunnelbear on your phone. This handy VPN service gives you 500MB/month of free data. That doesn't mean you get extra data from your wireless provider, it means they will let you send 500MB over their VPN network. If you agree to tweet about them they offer an additional 1GB for that month. 500MB is likely far more than you need for just downloading apps.

4) Verify your Tunnelbear account by clicking on a link they will email you, then turn on Tunnelbear on your phone. (Fire up the app and flick the slider switch in the app to "On")

Choose USA from the map display. You will see an animated bear burrow down from your present location and pop up in the USA (Or whatever location you selected.) To let you know it's done the bear will growl. Your VPN is now active and all traffic to/from your phone appears as if it is originating in the USA.

4) Go to the Google Play store and click the 3 lines in the upper-left corner of the search box.

5) Press the drop-down arrow beside your existing email address and select your new US-based address.

Now you can search for whatever geo-restricted titles you want and download them to your phone. This is a pretty easy way to get things like the Amazon FireTV app for your smartphone if you happen to have a Fire TV.

Try it out for yourself, and grab whatever apps you wanted. There are a bunch that aren't available in Canada like Pandora, FireTV Remote, and others. Now they are available to you.

Happy surfing!

-The Home Geek

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