Google Play is a great source of apps, games, movies, music, and books for use on Android smartphones. The service launched in 2012. By 2017 it hosted more than 2.7 million apps. The system has delivered more than 82 billion app downloads.
Many of the apps available on Google Play are free. This is great, because if you have to pay for a download you have to go through the hassle of setting up a Google Wallet account. This includes saving your bank account or credit card details in the system.
You may not realize it, but Google Play is different in each country. Not all apps are available everywhere. Some games, movies, and music are delivered in different versions to people in different countries. Additionally, the release dates of games and entertainment can sometimes be delayed, or slated in a lot of places.
If you live abroad, or in a country that bans anything interesting, you’re stuck with the lousy local library. Perhaps it is in the wrong language for you, or has limited content that is approved by your government, which you object to having to settle with. Thankfully, there is a solution – a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Google Play uses two methods to assign you to a regional library. Firstly, it checks the country of your payment source in Google Wallet. As such, if you travel abroad on vacation, you can still download from the library intended for your home market. However, if you haven’t set up a Google Wallet account, the Google Play system checks your IP address and works out which country you are in. That is the country library it allows you to access. Annoyingly, the system logs the first location you access Google Play from and records it. That is your official Google Play country for the rest of time. Thus, if you decided to access the system for the first time while you were on vacation, Google Play will still allocate you that foreign library when you return home.
If you are one of the millions of Google Play users who haven’t set up a Google Wallet account, you can switch locations easily by using a VPN. A VPN can make it seem that you are in another country. You can then access a different entertainment library.
There’s a full set of instructions on how to switch locations with Google Play further down in this article. However, first let’s take a look at the five best VPNs for Google Play.
Quick Links to our 5 best VPNs for Google Play
Best VPNs for Google Play: Summary
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- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Servers in 94 countries
- Gets around regional restrictions
- Gets into Netflix
- No logs
- Only three simultaneous connections allowed
The two big advantages of ExpressVPN for getting into Google Play from abroad are that it can fool just about every regional restriction in the world, and that it has a very wide network of servers. The company runs VPN servers in 94 countries around the world, which gives you a better opportunity of getting into the library of your preferred country for the Google Play service.
ExpressVPN has custom apps for Android devices, which can be downloaded from Google Play. You get an allowance of three simultaneous connections, so you can also download apps onto Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Kindle devices. You can install the VPN on Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS Linux. If you just want to protect your browser traffic with the VPN, there are extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. ExpressVPN can be installed on Sabai, DD-WRT, Tomato, and Asus routers and a range of set-top boxes.
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- Strong encryption
- Procedures to ensure anonymity
- App for Android devices
- Can be installed on routers
- Defeats regional restrictions
- Difficult to use
AirVPN is also very good at getting around regional restrictions and avoiding detection. Although AirVPN has technical excellence, its user interface is not very attractive. There's an app for Android, but you can't get it at Google Play. Instead, you should download it from the AirVPN website. The VPN also has apps for Windows, Mac OS X, and iOS devices, plus you can install it manually on Linux machines and routers.
Just like ExpressVPN, you can have three simultaneous connections. However, AirVPN's network is much smaller, with servers in 17 countries. Despite that, there is an enormous number of servers in each of the US, Canada, the UK, and the Netherlands. AirVPN is very strong on ensuring anonymity. You can pay with gift cards of Bitcoin to hide your identity and the company is scrupulous about deleting all logs.
- Attractive app available from Google Play
- Optimization for specific tasks, such as streaming or downloading
- A system-wide kill switch and options to monitor specified apps
- Free version available with unlimited data
- Apps for Windows, Mac OS X, and iOS, as well as Android
- Can't get into Netflix
In terms of its app, CyberGhost is the exact opposite of AirVPN - it is very well designed and a pleasure to use. The user interface features graphics in bright colors on a black background, which makes it very attractive. The company's logo is based on a friendly ghost and that theme carries through all of the company's offerings. There's a CyberGhost app, which you can download from Google Play. This is a free version of the service which works very well, but you can also upgrade to the paid version very cheaply.
The company gives restricted functionality and speeds to its free app, but you will still get access to servers located in 28 countries. The free app can only connect one device at a time, but the paid service allows you to have five simultaneous connections. The Android version of the app can be installed on a phone, tablet, or Android smart TV. It includes OpenVPN with an implementation of the AES cipher that uses a 256-bit key.
- Seven-day money-back guarantee
- Gets through regional restrictions
- Allowance of five simultaneous connections
- Available on Google Play
- High speeds
- Live chat for customer support not available 24/7
TorGuard's app can be downloaded from Google Play for your Android device. The TorGuard app also works on Windows, Mac OS X , iOS, and Linux devices. The VPN can be loaded onto a router and the company can even sell you a WiFi router with the VPN software already loaded on it. You get an allowance of five simultaneous connections with this service. If you load it onto a router, you can cover every device in your house, while using just one connection.
TorGuard has upped its game recently, so if you've checked out this service before, you should revisit it to see how much better it is now. This service is very good at getting around regional restrictions and you have a choice of servers in more than 50 countries.
- Low prices
- Easy to use
- Available on Google Play
- Defeats regional restrictions
- Choice of protocols
- Keeps activity logs for three days
- Only two simultaneous connections allowed
- Small server network
Kepard's Android app has been downloaded from Google Play more than 100,000 times. Users give it a rating of 4.1 out of 5. The company also has an app for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and iOS devices. The service only has servers in nine countries. However, the US, Canada, and the UK are among those locations. You can choose which VPN protocol you use with this app. The options for the protocol are OpenVPN, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), and Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). CyberGhost has recently upped its prices, and this makes Kepard the cheapest VPN service on this list. Android and Windows users can get a one-day free trial with this service.
VPN for Google Play: Considerations
Getting into a different region with Google Play isn’t just a case of installing a VPN and turning it on. This solution is appropriate for those who don’t have a Google Wallet account set up. Those who do should read the next section as well.
To switch locations in Google Play:
- Get to your apps library and tap the Settings app.
- Select Accounts from the settings list.
- Tap on Google in the apps list.
- Click on the menu icon in the top right of the Google settings page. This is a vertical line of three dots.
- Tap on Remove account. Respond to the warning message that appears by clicking Remove Account
- When a confirmation window appears, click on OK.
- Enter your device PIN (the code you enter to unlock your phone). The account will be detached from the Google settings. This won’t delete your account – you don’t need to do that.
- Open your VPN app and select a server in the country that you want Google to give you the library for.
- Open Google Play as per usual.
- Enter your account name in the first screen. This will probably be your Gmail address.
- Enter your Gmail password when prompted, then tap Next.
- Tap Accept in the terms of service page.
You’ll now be back into Google Play, but in a different country. Google Play will prompt you to allow it to back up your data to Google Drive. The second screen that appears before you can select apps will ask you to add payment account details. Be very careful about what you select in this screen. If you never intend to pay, tap on the No thanks button to continue through to the store.
Google Play Payments
Google Play uses your payment source to set your country location. If you enter bank account, card or PayPal details, Google uses them to set your country.
Don’t enter payment details unless you have a bank account in the country you want to access the Google Play library for. If you have a bank account there, you don’t need to remove your Google account details in order to switch. You can just amend your payment information:
- Enter payments.google.com.
- Click on the settings icon (the cog symbol in the left-hand menu).
- Click on Edit in the Home Address section.
- Change your address to one in the country that you want.
- Remove all card and bank account details that aren’t based in that country.
- Save the changes.
- Go to the Play Store and select any app that requires payment.
- Go through the download process until you reach “Accept and buy.” Don’t buy it.
- Return to your apps library. Select Settings.
- Select Apps.
- Tap on Google Play Store.
- Press Force Stop in the App Info screen.
- Tap on Storage, then Clear Data.
- Return to your home screen and enter the apps library again. Tap on Play Store.
- Accept the terms of service.
- Browse the apps library for your reassigned country.
The reappearance of the terms of service statement is a good sign. This confirms that Google Play has allocated you to a new country. Don’t worry if you don’t see the new library immediately – it can sometimes take a few hours for the reassignment to take place.
You may be tempted to skip the aborted purchase step. Don’t – or your home location won’t be changed!
Other Google Platforms
If you’re looking for a VPN to use with your other Google devices and platforms, we recommend checking out our VPNs for Chrome, VPNs for Chromebooks or VPNs for Chromecast guides. Alternatively if you’re serious about your privacy, take a look at our best 5 VPNs for Chromium.
VPN for Google Play: Conclusion
If you don’t have a bank account in the country that you want to get apps for, you won’t be able to pay for apps that are presented in the library for that country. Unfortunately, there is no way around the bank account address check that Google uses to discern your location. The only way to get into the Google Play service for another country, if you don’t have a bank account there, is to use a VPN and forget about registering a payment method.
The VPN trick to switch Google Play locations is quick and simple. However, you have to make sure that the VPN you choose has a server located in the country you want to select apps from. The US library is the most popular, and all of the VPNs on our list have servers there. Take a look through the server location lists of each of the VPN services in our recommendations and prioritize those that have servers in the country that you want to access. This will get you the right content and help you escape the restrictions imposed on people who live in your location.
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IMAGE CREDIT: Google, The current Google Play logo
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