Dear Apple, Please make your app stores more internationally friendly

I know we are in the minority but as a person living abroad (Japan) it’s extremely frustrating to use the iOS (and Mac) App stores.

Because my native language is English and I’m from the USA I want to use the USA store. But, sometimes I have to use the Japanese store, for example to download a banking for local banks who’s apps are only available on the Japanese store. Doing this is extremely tedious. The steps are:

1. Go to your home page, swipe to whatever page your settings are on and click the settings app.

2. Scroll down, find, and pick “iTunes and App Store”

3. Click your Apple ID (it’s not clear at all this is clickable)

4. Pick “View Apple ID” (It’s not clear at all this is where you’d change the store)

5. Enter you password. I have a long password with both numbers and symbols. It’s super annoying to type on the phone. No idea why this is Japanese right now.

6. Pick “Country/Region”.

7. Pick “Change Country or Region” (think of this as “yes, I really want to do this”).

Imagine the frustration of students etc who don’t have a local credit card with which to sign up. I’m guessing they beg their friends.

8. Select the region you want.

9. Enter your local address and postal code.

10. Enter your local phone number

11. Enter a local credit card, its expiration date and its code.

All of this takes several minutes.

Then, when I need to switch back I have to go through the same tedious process.

To give an example, Saturday I wanted to checkout Japanese podcasts. The easiest way to access the most popular ones seemed to be to use the builtin Apple iOS Podcast app. So I click it but of course since I’m on the USA store it shows the USA list. I sigh and decide I’ll do this later. A couple of days later I finally get around to switching stores. I check the podcasts just to see it’s showing me the Japanese lists. It is but don’t download any yet. Today I need some network info app for iOS. I find one called “Network Utility” on iOS and download it. It’s not showing the info I need. I check their website to see if there’s an example of it showing the info I need. It’s possible the info doesn’t exist on my phone. I see the same app exists on the Mac App Store. I check it out, I can’t tell but I know the info I want to display on iOS *is* available on my Mac. In other words if the Mac App displays the info I want then maybe the iOS one does too. There’s no free version but it’s only 99ยข so I click “buy” and am then told I can’t use the account to buy it. In other words because I switched my region to Japan and this mac app is on the USA store I can’t buy it without going through all the shit above to switch back to the USA region.

Now I get I’m in the minority, most people stay in whatever region they were born in so this issue probably affects few people (maybe tourists?). But at the same time why does it have to be this way? Why can’t I just register addresses and payment info for both stores and switch easily without having to re-enter it all every time? Or better why I can’t have it automatically use the correct info. Or even better than that why can’t there just be one store? Let me select a region for the charts and recommendations but otherwise put it all on the same store! Come on Apple! You’re the leaders in UI/UX. You can do this!

  • Chris McLaughlin

    I have separate accounts for UK, Japan, and USA and switch stores by logging out and logging in as the other account.
    Apps on the phone work no matter what account is signed in.
    Still have to go through settings to do it and it and it’s still frustrating, but not quite so many steps :/