The App Store Nightmare
Edit: The specific error message I was getting is a bug in the App Store relating to disabling SpotLight on your Mac. Once this was fixed, apps from my Swedish region again started updating on the machine, so it seems Apple Support’s claim about IP address limitations is bogus. Why would they say there is one though?
I recently moved from Sweden to the US. Now that my bank is here in the US, I switched my Apple account over to the US region.
Doing so made everything under “Purchases” and “Updates” disappear in the Mac App Store. After a long frustrating email exchange I was told by the App Store support that apps are tied to a region, so if you have downloaded an app in one region it’s forever tied to that region. Their message was: You have to keep your account in the Swedish region to receive updates. Note that this applies even to free stuff like Twitter!
So at this point I created another account, to be able to download US apps. Everything was fine for a while, although I would have to sign in and out of both my accounts to get updates going. I was getting updates.
Today however a new problem emerged as I tried to update Xcode (which is on my Swedish account.) It’s no longer showing in “Purchases”, and “Updates”. Navigating to the Xcode page however shows an “Update” button. Clicking that brings up this ominous dialogue
Signing in to my US account, I’m greeted with the same dialog.
Puzzled, I sent an email to the Mac App Store Support explaining I could no longer get updates for my apps, regardless of the account I used. Here’s the takeaway from that email:
Please know that since the app was purchase on your iTunes account in Sweden, you may not be able to update app, now that your IP address is in the US. Content in the iTunes store is country specific. Andreas, for this issue, you may need to call our AppleCare technical support team. A technical Advisor will be able to tell you about Apple’s complimentary and fee-based support. The technical Advisor can also assist you in determining what option might be most helpful to you in this case.
So because I have a US IP address I can no longer update my Swedish apps? I took the advice and called Apple Support. A lady informed me that because I didn’t have active AppleCare for my Macs there was nothing they could do. She offered me to by a one-time pass for $49 or a three year plan for $249. Paying $49 to help Apple debug their DRM? WTF!
I’m so pissed off at Apple right now I don’t know what to do except write it up as a warning to others.
- If you switch regions, you can no longer update (or even see) your apps in the App Store. This goes even for free apps like Twitter and Xcode. So you need to keep your region set to the one where you purchased the app. But..
If you’re in the US, you can’t download updates for your non-US apps due to IP address constraints.(This seems possible again now that SpotLight is enabled.)
- There’s no way to migrate an app from one account to another (even for freebies such as Twitter)
- There’s no way to permanently remove an app from an account (to reinstall it on another)
- App Store Support can do nothing to help you
- Apple Support requires AppleCare to do anything about it (if they can, that’s unknown)
So this leaves me with the following options:
- Completely nuke my machine, create a new US Apple account and repurchase everything (yeah, right)
- Pay $49 to have Apple Support look into the issue
- Give up and use Linux (I hear Windows 8 will have a locked-down App store too)
If this is any indication of the future of software distribution in general, I think I’m going to just give up and go into farming. AFAIK there are no DRM or geolocation limitations on farming equipment yet.