How to purchase US iTunes content in Canada

by Ross McKillop on February 17, 2009

iPod

Thanks to my friend Armen for this trick. This tutorial will guide you through the steps required to buy or rent content that’s only available in the US version of the iTunes Store, from Canada. I would be hugely appreciative if you could give this a try if you live in Australia, England, France, Italy or any country other than Canada and let me know if it works by leaving a comment.

  1. The most important part of this trick is to purchase a MasterCard gift card (a temporary/disposable MasterCard). These are available in many stores across Canada, including Macs and Shoppers Drug Mart. They come in $25, $50 and $100 denominations.
  2. mastercard gift card
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  3. Launch iTunes. Select iTunes Store from the left navigation, and if you already have a Canadian account, click on the ‘your email address’ button in the upper right corner.
  4. Click the Sign Out button.

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  6. Now back in the iTunes Store, click the Sign In button.
  7. Click the Create New Account button.

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  9. On the intro screen, click the Continue button.

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  11. You’ll be asked to enter your credit card and address info. Don’t. Look for the line that says If the billing address is not in Canada, click here, and click the click here link.

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  13. In the Select a country: drop-down list, select US. Now click the Change Country button.

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  15. You’ll be taken back to the iTunes Store, where once again you’ll have to click the Sign In button.
  16. And again, click the Create New Account button.

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  18. Notice that the iTunes Store now thinks you’re in the US. Enter in the gift card MasterCard info, and a US billing address. You can probably just make one up, but you might want to confirm that the ZIP code and city match up. Update: using an address in Oregon is a good idea as they have no state tax. Thanks @staciebee!

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  20. Once you’ve filled in all the appropriate info, click the Done button.

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  22. Now you’ll be signed in to the US iTunes Store. Navigate to whatever content it is you want to buy/rent and go for it!

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  24. You should have no problems downloading the movies/music/TV show etc.

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  • Steve

    FYI: Texas, Florida, Delaware, and Hew Hampshire also have no sales tax.

  • Steve

    Scratch that: only Delaware and New Hampshire have no sales tax–the ones I mentioned before have no income tax. Oops. No idea where my head was.

  • http://silverpenpub.net Matthew

    I’m assuming this violates Apple’s ToS… and now that the work-around is pretty visible, how long before Apple takes action?

    Part of me wants to say they won’t care, because after all, they’re getting money and no harm done. But Apple sometimes seems lawyer-crazy :-\

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  • Joe

    This works great… the only drawback is the $3 activation fee on the prepaid cards.

    Another thing to note is that I tried to “gift” my new account and a found out that a Canadian account cannot gift a US account. – sad times

  • Larry

    Let me know if anyone has success with iTunes France. Am able to get downloads of French podcasts from the French iTunes Store, but not music downloads. I’m really surprised in this day and age of digital access that Apple is so restrictive.

  • Me

    This isn’t a workaround at all! There are much simpler ways of getting iTunes accounts/content from other countries.

    Firstly, you don’t need to buy a credit card gift card, particularly since it seems it has a $3 activation fee.

    Since you’d have to be in or near the US to buy a credit card gift card, it’d be easier to just buy an actual Apple iTunes gift card. There’s no activation fee and it allows you to start a new account in whichever country the card is from and download content from there.

    I’d say 99% of the time people get iTunes accounts for countries they’re not actually residing in, it’s because they’re not residing in them and quite possibly not even near that country. That itself makes it difficult to actually buy an iTunes gift card from that country let alone a credit card gift card from that country.

    If you know someone in the country from which you’d like the card/account/content and they have an iTunes account you can just give them money and they can give you an iTunes gift card through email.

    I do this for US and Australian accounts all the time. I know people there and I give them money and they buy email gift cards for me. I don’t like in the US or Australia and it’s always worked just fine.

    @ Matthew – It does violate the TOS but it’s always been “visible”, as you say. They may stop it one day (it even says so in the first line of the TOS) but it’s not because people have just started using this “workaround” because people have always used it.

  • http://www.simplehelp.net Ross McKillop

    @Me -

    I think you might have missed part of the idea of this tutorial – “Since you’d have to be in or near the US to buy a credit card gift card, it’d be easier to just buy an actual Apple iTunes gift card.” – That’s not accurate. You can purchase these MasterCard gift cards IN Canada. That’s pretty much the point of the “trick”. You go to your LOCAL store, buy a gift Mastercard, and use it to create a US iTunes Store account. You just enter ANY US address when filling out the form. That way you don’t need to bug your friends in the US to buy you iTunes gift cards etc. You just do it all yourself, and takes much less time.

  • Vanessa

    OMGosh, it actually worked! Aha. I wasn’t expecting it too, more like hoping, but yeah, this works 100%.

  • Goat Jam

    Hmmm, if those clowns inisst on making you jump through hoops to actually PURCHASE songs just tel them to go jump and download what you want via TPB.

    If these idiots want people to actually pay for their media then they had better well stop making it so goddam hard to do so.

  • vanessa

    Torrents annoy me. I’ve had to jump through so many hoops for torrents.

  • Doug

    I just tried this with the new iTunes 8.1 and it won’t accept the security code on from the back of the card. I wonder if Apple has figured this trick out and turned it off?

  • Doug

    Oh, false alarm on my earlier comment. Turns out Pharmasave did not properly activate the card (calling to get the balance reveals this). Phew!!!

  • http://yashrg.co.in yash

    I might try this out since the paypal arrangement I had with a friend has ended. Now itunes is asking for updated working billing info and I was wondering if adding another credit card and a ‘fake’ US address is the only workaround.

  • Darrell

    This was great, thanks! Worked just as described, so I can finally get full BSG HD seasons!! Cheers.

  • Doug

    Does anyone know if this work around will allow you to download iPhone apps? In particular I’m wondering if this will let you download and run a working version of the Skype app for the iPhone.

  • Lauren

    I live in the U.S but I want music that’s on the Canadian itunes store that isn’t the U.S. store. It would be so much easier if they would just allow us to buy music from the other stores because either way it goes we are wanting to buy it.

  • http://usitunes.blogspot.com mary

    you can save that fee by buying itunes gift cards for various countries on ebay’s international sites. to only download all the free stuff on itunes for any country without a credit card or gift card: open the itunes player, scroll down to the bottom to choose the country you want, scroll down again to choose a free app, click get app, click create account, when you get to the payment page there will be the “none” option for payment. works everytime for any country. detailed instructions at usitunes.blogspot.com

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  • Apple dude

    if i buy something in canada using itunes do i have to pay using american money or can i use canadian?

  • warpass

    When apple decides to do something about this they will probably void all content you have downloaded. Careful here you could loose everything you paid for.

  • leocifer

    Just so you know, the itunes terms of use now actually states that pre-paid credit cards will not be accepted. I am in a bit of a bind right now because I paid for some stuff using a pre-paid Mastercard, and half of it cleard while the other half didn’t, simply because the new policy came into effect between the first and second purchases. While the video has not been disabled from the computer, I imagine if they can they will and I will be out that $30.

    From now on in I will buy iTunes cards on ebay.

  • escobedo

    I have been using the itunes gift cards from the US to access the american itunes store from Toronto, Canada. Suddenly, a screen is coming up on my apple TV stating that if am not in the US they can find out and they will come and get me! The whole reason I bought the damn thing is to access the US store.
    Is there a way around this?
    Thanks.

  • Ama

    I am in Germany from the US and there is some credit on my account which I have to use up before using the German gift card what can I do. The credit is 39 cents

  • nat

    hi does anyone know if this still works? thanks

  • Rick

    I live in the Netherlands and use an US iTunes account created with US iTunes Gift Cards…

    I can still buy movies and tv shows from within ITunes 10, but on the new Apple TV (the small one) i can’t rent TV shows… I can only rent movies…

    I think this is because i only have a us gift card account registered on a us address somewhere…

  • John Smith

    This trick worked for me… then stopped working. I successfully downloaded seasons 3 and 4 Dexter (from Canada), then I logged-out and logged-in later that day to download seasons 1 and 2, but they cut me off. This was October 2010. Same day. I’m not sure why it worked then stopped. I specifically purchased two $200 gift cards to get all seasons.

  • RC88

    I really want to be able to buy Saturday Night Live episodes but I’m a bit wary about making up an address to use. Any suggestions?

  • neuroman

    Doesn’t work now – at least I couldn’t get it to work. Trying to set up the US account and when you put in the VISA card number, it says the credit card doesn’t match the banking records for the “address”…..

  • Kim

    Okay, quick question. I was at Lollapalooza this weekend, and I grabbed one of those “download 40 free songs!” cards they were handing out. Problem is, it’s only accessible through the US iTunes store. Obviously I won’t be paying for any of the songs, therefore a pre-paid card won’t be necessary. Any idea how I can get these 40 songs?

  • Willl

    @ KIM just sell your card 30$ on ebay… at least you’ll have 30 songs instead of nothin…

  • Shannon

    If you buy a US itunes card from pcgame supply, and just redeem it instead of a vanilla mastercard (it is a online delivery) it will work just as good. I am very excited to unlock this!

  • Shannon

    In respect to the previous post regarding the info not matching, you just need to go to the vanilla mastercard us website and make up a postal code. That is all the system is validating anyways

  • Kim

    Shannon says If you buy a US itunes card from pcgame supply, and just redeem it instead of a vanilla mastercard (it is a online delivery) it will work just as good. I am very excited to unlock this!

    —> I agree with Shannon! I tried to do the credit card gift card thing, but it didn’t work out for me. I bought a US iTunes card from pcgame supply and I had my Sons of Anarchy episodes downloading within half an hour – and I didn’t even have to leave my house! Thanks Shannon!

  • Betyar

    I purchased a Vanilla Master card gift card in Canada and US iTunes wouldn’t accept the security code on the back. I phoned the customer support number on the back of the card, and they told me it wouldn’t work because it was a Canadian card. She then promptly activated the card as I confirmed my US address and the purchase went through fine.

    I don’t know why iTunes doesn’t want our money, very strange.

    Hope that helps.

  • Dan

    Everyone wants to purchase from the us store, but I want to purchase from the Canada store any ideas?

  • Danielle

    I want to purchase from the Canadian ITunes store. I live in the US. please help