Mac App Store drama. Apps bought in 1 country not valid after you’ve moved!

Today I got a very unpleasant surprise. Recently I moved from The Netherlands to Poland. Still all European Union. My MacBook Pro got however pretty stuffed with stuff and since I had some time today I’d figure I re-install the whole thing to get rid of some nasty issues which got in there after installing, uninstalling and working/changing too much.

So I started off, backing up, cleaning my disk, installing Mac OS X Lion and then… I thought… let’s update the address info etc. in my Apple ID as well. So said, so done, and I updated my info to reflect my current address.

I sign in, go to the Mac App Store and click the “Purchased” tab. Me expecting to get the nice list of apps, ready to install.

However… it said: “You didn’t buy any apps yet.“… I was heavily surprised, since I bought a bunch of apps and even some expensive ones. Like costing over 40 EUR or even some over 100 EUR each…

No matter what I did… I couldn’t get the apps back, so I started mailing with Apple support who as always, replies swift.

However… the first guy answering started complaining about the fact that I already requested 2 times a re-download option for my iTunes purchases… that’s write… I did that, when I was having major issues with my laptop, but that was regarding music. I learned my lesson with that and I have good backups now for that. However it seems that Apple itself forgot what the differences between the stores are. They write even themselves on their site

Buy, download, and even

You can install apps on every Mac you use and even download them again. This is especially convenient when you buy a new Mac and want to load it with apps you already own.

Ehh… guys…. re-download…

Check out the mail which I received after having replied on the first response about the iTunes story. It’s a very nice answer.


Dear Frank,

Josh here, from Mac App Store Support.  Let me begin by apologizing for the frustration you have endured during this issue.  I will do my best to explain why your apps are no longer available in the Mac App Store.

I’m afraid that your change of residence is what caused this.  Content from the Mac App Store is country-specific.  App purchases made from either the iTunes Store or the Mac App Store are licensed only for the country from which the purchase is made.  After you change countries, it is impossible to upgrade or redownload the applications you purchased while your account was set to the previous country.

I truly apologize for the inconvenience, Frank.  I realize that this is not the answer you wanted to hear.  In order to access these applications again, the only option I can offer is to re-purchase them from the App Store with your current Poland address.

Thank you for your understanding.  I hope that I have served to clarify the cause of your issue.  Have a wonderful day.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.  You may receive an AppleCare survey email; any feedback you provide would be greatly appreciated.



In the current world I find this really stupid. The Netherlands and Poland are both EU. The apps are in both shops available, but no… you can spend your money again.

Of course I replied to Apple that I didn’t like this behavior and will send this story to some news papers and other media who love spending attention to big IT firms like Apple.

I can tell that when I changed my address and location I didn’t even received a warning that my apps and purchases wouldn’t be available for download anymore.

How I solved it now? I just changed my info back to The Netherlands. I don’t mind. Let Apple have my wrong address. After the change the apps where available for download straight away.

I can just say one thing. Way to go Apple!! What are you thinking. People spend money on having software legal. All other apps which I DIDN’T buy through the Mac App Store I can just install, put my license key and it’s working. I will never ever buy an application again through the Mac App Store. This just proves that buying straight from the vendor has huge profits as well.

Final email from Apple were they say they are sorry but are not going to do anything about it.

Hello Frank,

It’s Lauralee here. Josh is out of the office and has asked me to keep an eye on your request in the meantime. Please accept my sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this issue has caused.

Frank, as the content from the App Store is country-specific, any applications need to be dated before changing countries. After you change countries, you won’t be able to upgrade the applications you purchased while your account was set to the previous country. Again, I’m terribly sorry for the inconvenience that this has caused.

Please know that Apple is always open to feedback from their customers and we recognize that no one is better qualified to provide feedback about iTunes than the people who use it. As such, it is my recommendation that you submit your comments through our feedback page. A large number of the things we do to our products and services are relative to suggestions that we receive from our customers. The more we see an interest in making a change, the greater the chances of it being implemented. Please submit your suggestion through the following link:

I would like to thank you for taking the time to provide us with your feedback, Frank. It is people like you who can help make positive changes for yourself and Apple.



iTunes Store/Mac App Store Advisor

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you. You may receive an AppleCare survey email; any feedback you provide would be greatly appreciated.

3 thoughts on “Mac App Store drama. Apps bought in 1 country not valid after you’ve moved!”

  1. Hi Frank

    Good to read your story about the Aple Store products being attached to the Country of Purchase. Since I am also working in 2 countries and was planning to by an Ipad. Aple can forget about that to happen. We live in 2011 in a world were we are much more mobile then say 20 years ago. It seems that at that point they are greatly inadequate. They are however very good in apologizing 🙂

    Regards, Daniel

    1. They sure are good with saying sorry, but what do I buy for sorry? I have bought applications for several hundreds of euros. Laptop being used for business, everything legal. What happens? All apps bought through different chains are useable and all in appstore not anymore. Fortunately I could change the address back to my old address and get the apps. Nice part however, I already learned that if you move from NY to LA you still are able to access everything. So moving 4490km is no problem as long as your in the big USA. If you move 1200km to another EU country… oops….

      But seriously… what are they thinking when they answer to buy the apps again in the new country. Are they nuts? Who is going to spend twice the money for the apps. It’s a total joke.

      As you said, we life in a mobile world. People don’t life in one place all their lives anymore. What’s next? They’ll tell you cannot take your laptop to another country anymore?

  2. Hi Frank,
    This is totally insane!!! why should I buy agan the apps I have already pay for??, that answer is not acceptable at all!!!, I am going to spread the word in Latin America about this, I have a friend that is a journalist here in Chile at a big newspaper and maybe he can publish something, can I put your site and letter as reference??
    I just can’t believe what Apple just told you about buying the apps again, almost seems like a joke!
    When the people try to do things legal seems like you get punished, bad company policy, now that Steve is not in charge is going to be worst, I just read that they are lauching now MAC OSX Mountain Lion another scam, they just add some stuff from the IPAD enviroment and now they are trying to sell it as a new OS, this should be a free upgrade and seems that is going to be a new purchase from the MAC Appstore (Scam Store) pretty bad for all of us that really appreciate Mac Products but they are crossing a very thin line betewen the reasonable and the mediocracy
    Thanks Frank for a very nice article.

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