If you purchase an iTunes gift card in one country, can it be used in a different country? We recently had email from a reader explaining that she has a friend working in the UK, and that he told her that the iTunes card he purchased in the UK will not work to purchase Apple music on his U.S. phone. So, can you use an iTunes gift card purchased in one country in another country? The answer may surprise you.
The short answer is no, you cannot use an iTunes gift card purchased in one country in another country. If you have an iTunes gift card purchased in the U.S., you cannot use it in the UK or France, for example. Nor can you purchase an iTunes card in the UK and then use it in the U.S..
And yes, to be very clear, this means that if you purchase an iTunes gift in one country, and send it as a gift to someone in another country, they will not be able to use it.
In fact, here it is, straight from Apple’s mouth:
App Store & iTunes Gift Cards and Apple Music Gift Cards are specific to your country or region. If you’re trying to redeem an App Store & iTunes Gift Card or Apple Music Gift Card that was purchased in a different country or region, make sure that you’re redeeming it in the iTunes Store for the same country or region. You can’t redeem cards outside of the country or region of purchase. For example, an App Store & iTunes Gift Card purchased in France can’t be redeemed in an iTunes Store in the U.S.
When redeeming Apple Music Gift Cards, make sure to redeem the cards in the iTunes Store for the same country or region. You can’t change your country or region while you have an active membership.
Apple also explains this, differently, here:
Gift Cards are valid for use only in the country in which they were purchased. Only residents of the U.S may redeem gift cards purchased in the U.S.
To redeem iTunes Gift Cards, go to the iTunes Store and in the “Quick Links” section in the right column, select “Redeem.”
Of important note, we’d be remiss if we did not note that the issue with our reader’s friend is not that he has a U.S.-based phone, but that he has a U.S.-based iTunes account.
As to why there is this restriction, Apple doesn’t say, however because it is specific to iTunes (i.e., predominantly, music) our money is on it having to do with the tracking of royalties paid in a given country, and monies spent on royalty-producing media.