Changing iTunes Store accounts when moving to another country

Q: I have an Apple Store account in India to which my Mac, iPhone and iPads are linked. I have now moved to Singapore and am thinking of opening another iTunes Store account here. Can I do this on all my devices and will I continue to be able to access my earlier paid apps, music from my India store account and vice versa with my Singapore store account on my devices? Singapore also supports iTunes Match so what will happen to all my music, and the ones I am likely to buy with the Singapore iTunes Store account?

– Anonymous

A: You can actually either setup a second iTunes Store account in Singapore or simply change the country on your existing iTunes Store account to begin using it in your new country.

In either scenario you can still have content from both accounts loaded into iTunes and on your iOS devices—each iOS device can support content from up to five different iTunes Store accounts, provided they were loaded on from an authorized computer. For music this is a minor issue anyway unless you still have older copy-protected tracks from the pre-iTunes Plus era; most other types of content, however—including apps—will be associated with your iTunes Store account and you will need to ensure your computer and devices are authorized for this content.

Although you can play authorized content from multiple iTunes Store accounts, you will need to choose one account to sign into your devices with for the purpose of purchasing new content. For new purchases, you can switch back and forth between multiple accounts, but you may find this to be cumbersome compared to simply using a single account.

It is also important to note that iTunes and iOS enforce a 90-day limit on changing accounts if you have used your account to re-download purchases or have configured it to automatically download new purchases or subscribed to iTunes Match. In this case, you will not be able to switch to another account for these features for 90 days from the time that you first enabled them, although you can still use an alternate account for new purchases if you wish. This limitation does not apply to automatically downloading or re-downloading applications, however—only other types of content such as music, movies, books and TV shows.

If you simply choose to change the country on your existing iTunes Store account, your previous purchases will be similarly retained and you can begin using the Singapore iTunes Store directly with the new account. Similarly, you can switch the account back to India should you move back there at some point. Note, however, that your previous purchases from “iTunes in the Cloud” may not all be available once you’ve switched countries, since country-based content restrictions will apply—in other words, content your purchased in India that isn’t available on the Singapore iTunes Store will no longer be available to re-download at all. It’s also worth noting that in at least some cases you will not be able to change countries for an iTunes Store account with an active iTunes Match subscription.

In terms of setting up iTunes Match with a Singapore iTunes Store account, you would be able to include any non-DRM-protected music that you purchased with your India iTunes Store account; since the tracks are not DRM protected, they would be treated in the same manner as any other track that you had imported from another source—matched if possible, uploaded directly otherwise. Older, DRM-protected tracks that you may have from your Indian iTunes Store account should actually be matched if the content exists in the Singapore iTunes Store, however if not they will be considered ineligible for iTunes Match and will not be uploaded or included in your iCloud library.

If you choose to go with a second iTunes Store account you will also need to switch back and forth between your two accounts to update any apps that were purchased with each one, as iTunes will only show updates for whatever account you’re currently signed in with. However, in some cases changing countries for your existing iTunes Store account may prevent updates from appearing automatically, although in these cases you should still be able to go and re-download the app manually provided that it is available on the iTunes Store in the new country.

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