How To Set Up A US iTunes Account

If your iTunes account is associated with an Australian address, then the options for what you can buy online will be different (and generally more limited) than those available to US iTunes users. Set up your own US iTunes account and you'll have access to a much wider range of content to purchase.

Presuming you're not worried by providing a not-exactly-accurate US address, operating a US-based iTunes account isn't difficult. The only major restriction is that you'll only be able to top up your balance with US iTunes cards. While these are regularly sold via eBay and through various online stores, you'll have little recourse if you get sold a dodgy code — grabbing some on a US trip or getting an American friend to buy them for you is a safer option.

The steps below tell you how to set up a US iTunes account. These instructions are based on iTunes 10 for Windows, though the basic process should be very similar on a Mac.

Open iTunes on your PC. (If you haven't already installed iTunes, you can download it from the Apple site).

If you are already signed into your existing Australian iTunes account, make sure you sign out. Click on the signed-in address in the top-right corner, then click on the 'Sign out' button in the dialogue that appears.

iTunes generally copes quite well with content acquired via different accounts — the biggest nuisance is that you'll have to sign in and out of each account to view the relevant content or use the relevant apps. If you want to keep the process completely separated, you can set up a second user account on your PC and use that for accessing your US iTunes installation, but that's probably overkill.

Click on the iTunes store link on the left-hand side of the screen. Scroll to the bottom, and click on the small Australian flag in the bottom-right corner. A list of countries will appear. Click on 'United States'. (You can use a similar approach to create an account in any iTunes store, but we're concentrating on the US here.)

Click on the App store button near the middle top of the screen. Scroll down to the 'Free apps' list on the right, and click on the 'See all' link.

We're going to install a free app in order to trigger the account creation process. It doesn't matter which app you choose (or even if you plan to use it) — just click on the 'Free' button to download one that appeals. Click on the 'Create new account' button in the pop-up that appears, then click 'Continue' on the splash screen that follows. Tick your agreement to the terms and conditions, then click 'Continue'.

The next screen will ask you to set up your Apple ID. Don't use the same address you already have for an Australian account. You can always use a disposable Gmail address if you don't want to create an additional email for this purpose. You also need to include at least one upper-case letter, though the software doesn't initially make that clear. Make sure you deselect the email newsletters (unless you really want them), then click Continue.

The next screen asks for a payment method. Select 'None' for the time being.

You also need to provide a US address to complete registration. One common smart-aleck response is to use Apple's own address, but that's the kind of trick it might easily check for. I'm not going to provide a specific address to use — that would seem a tad unfair — but I'll suggest that any US-based hotel address will work nicely. For the phone number, you can just use 000 0000000 — iTunes demands a number but doesn't verify its accuracy.

You'll be sent a confirmation email. Click on the 'Verify now' link, sign in with the password you have just created, and your US iTunes account will be set up. (To add credit via a US iTunes gift card, click on your account name and select 'Edit payment information'.)

Got your own strategies for buying US iTunes credit and content? Share them in the comments.

Lifehacker 101 is a weekly feature covering fundamental techniques that Lifehacker constantly refers to, explaining them step-by-step. Hey, we were all newbies once, right?


    If you're an Australian American Express cardholder and you want a US iTunes Account try this:

    - Check if your postcode here in Australia with a zero on the end exists in the US. For example the postcode for Mosman NSW is 2088. In the US 20880 is a suburb of Maryland called Washington Grove. If yours exists then you can proceed. If not, stop reading.

    - As per above, but select the Amex card

    - Enter your card number, expiry, security code and name as it appears on your card

    - When entering your billing address use your Australian street and number, but use the US Town, State and Zipcode

    - iTunes should confirm all is OK and you now have a US based iTunes account that you can use with your AU based Amex Card.

    - Remember all the costs will be US$ so watch out for the exchange rate (not a big issue presently) and the fees.

      To find out if your Post code + a ZERO can = a valid US Zip Code, here is the link to the USPS site to check.

      My post code + a ZERO isn't a valid Zip Code so this method doesn't work for me. I would also like to know if you can sync things from both the AU & US stores

        Yes - this will allow you to sync with AU and US content. All you need to do is ensure that the PC/Mac that you sync with is enabled to view/play content from your US and AU accounts.

        Spot on. AMEX worked a treat!

      You are the man, this works a treat! Crazy thing is the town for my friend was Leonardtown and he's from StLeonards, funny! Mine was Callaway and I'm from Cammeray!

      Does this only work with an Amex issued card? Does it also work for Amex badged cards issued by banks?

      Thanks for this tip" kcmg". Worked first time and saves me the hassle of buying US iTunes Gift Cards via ebay.

    Would you consider doing the same thing for Amazon in order to get books from the US Kindle store?

      I managed to do this by just changing my region. I did get an email telling me I was using my kindle device in a region different to my store, but it didn't delete my books or anything...

    If you do this, will you be able to sync both AU and US content to your iPhone? E.g. Can you still sync all of your regular Australian content AND the occasional app that is only available in the US store?

      Tom, I get app updates from two Australian accounts because my husband and I share apps we have bought on our separate accounts. You just need to sign out of one and sign in to the other.

      Yes, this works, but it makes updates annoying - you have to sign out of your main account, in to the US account and out and back into your main one again to get all the updates. Worth it though.

    @tom anlezark, yes, you can sync both to your iphone, but sometimes it becomes a real pain updating apps and stuff, because itunes or the app store will tell you you need to switch stores, and that is a surprisingly annoying task, oh and the changing of accounts for different purchases. It's worth it though, i reckon

    I am trying on iTunes 10 on my Mac but I don't get option to select NONE as a payment method?

    So I can't do it right?

      Make sure you are trying to download a FREE app and the option to have "none" as payment method will appear.

    I've tried this before and tried it again now, but something doesn't seem to work for me. I get all the way to typing in my fake address, choosing 'none' as a payment option, send it all off, and then I get the error message: "Your credit card was declined. Please enter valid credit card information." Does anyone know why that could be? Thanks for the article. :)

    and the same works for a UK account, if you select the UK store link, for those wanting UK content.

    Regarding using an Australian Amex Card to open a US itunes account, you may also be able to try a leading zero instead of a lagging zero on the zip code. I buy gas all the time in the US at the pump and some ask for zip codes so I've always added a leading zero to my own Australian post code and it works fine. Just checked on the US postal service website and my post code with a leading zero is a proper US zip code so maybe that works with Itunes -just a suggestion

    I created a US account and got the US app I wanted but it won't transfer from my PC to my phone when I do a sync. Every other app does, but not that one. Any ideas?

    This is pretty obvious. Every other app is associated with a different account.

    Seems that Apple have removed the "none" under payment options.
    Back to square one!

    Sorry. Worked the second time!

    Can you do this from your iPad or only from a PC/Mac?

    What happens if you use an Australian registered PayPal account as the payment method.
    Are the Apple systems smart enough to detect a non-US payment address?

      I'd be surprised if they didn't - PayPal sources your address so the match would be easy.

    The Amex and Australian postcode + 0 doesn't work anymore. The itune store looks to find a real street address (not just suburb) and then checks with Amex that the street address matches your records, so you can never win.

    You can use the nifty gmail aliases for the email address, that means you can use address' like [email protected] and gmail will send that message to [email protected] ... See this link for more...

    Just get a hopshopgo or similar free US based mailing address and use that with a debit card.

    Hi, I've just tried numerous times both in ITunes and via the store in downloading a free app to create a new US account but each and every time it gets to the payment section there's no longer the None option when they're looking for a credit card details.

    Does this mean the gig's up??

    @Romany, mate I didn't see an option for using a debit card and wouldn't they want the details on that too to verify the debit card is US based?

    its asking for a phone number what do you suggest?

    Thank you KCMG. I tried the Amex trick and it works! I put a zero at the end of my postcode and presto. Access to US itunes from Australia.

    I am new to this but would like to get Tv show, etc from US which we may not even get here so excuse me if my questions are dumb!
    1 Can I use a GMail address and if so is it okay to put my name and address, country and phone number in when I apply for a GMail address or can it be traced if iTunes US wanted to check it
    2 Is it okay if I put a US hotel address to create an account
    3 Can I have an Australian iTunes a/c and a US a/c on the same iTunes page on the computer, I realise I would have to keep changing the country all the time, but the accounts are separate arn't they, there is no link between them. I would get a US iTunes gift card to pay for purchases of course on the US a/c.
    As I said I a new to this so sorry if my questions seem dumb and obvious, thank

      Very late reply I know but you can set up your gmail the normal way but I would just make a throw away account and set it up with a US address. And yes, you can use a US hotel address, seems to work best, I wouldn't trust using the apple address as it seems an easy thing to check. And yup your accounts can be on the same computer, just need to switch back and forth. As for gift cards I would use they have fair prices and have always sent them to me fairly quick with no hassles. Hope this works out for you. Cheers.

    i don't get it. i followed this post's instructions. but when i click continue it tells me to contact iTunes support. why in the hell did that happen? i filled out all required fields and chose the 'none' option.

    after inputting the US address i get the following message " contact itunes support to complete this transaction" i dont know how to resolve this. Pls help

    Hi! same here, I have iTunes and same message, I am using Hotspot Shield Elite. Any suggestions?

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