Where in the world is my iPad? aka How to defeat content blocking

Streaming media is the future. Content blocking because of distribution rights is stupid.

You want to use Hulu outside of the US? View content from the BBC iPlayer outside of the UK? Or maybe you’re just a European that want to use American streaming services for TV, say the ABC player? – Not even a challenge, that’s how easy it is. And yes, this will also work across 3G network, and for anyone anywhere in the world. Also note you do not need to jailbreak your device to make this work.

Today’s exercise then. I’ll take you through setting up your iPad so you can one-click your way past content blocking, but it will work on just about any other platform aswell. Since I’m a huge fan of streaming media that will be our focus, and services like ABC, Hulu, Netflix and BBC iPlayer will be the target.

You will be hitting two walls when you start this. First Apple has different content in Appstore based on the location tied to your AppleID, and so you may not even be able to download the app you need – which of course there is a simple way around. Note that you do not need a country specific visa card, or infact any visa at all to register (as some people may suggest). Secondly you will run into problems because services will be blocked based on your IP (in turn based on your geographical location). Which we solve by going through a VPN connection making the service believe we are wherever we want to be. Simple, won’t even take an afternoon.

First step is to download the apps needed to your device. I’ll assume you are in the wrong country and the local Appstore doesn’t have the content you want. Fire up iTunes and follow the instructions below.

1. Log out of iTunes store (and stay logged out).
2. Scroll down and find the link called “Change Country / Region”. Click and change to US, UK, or wherever you are interested in.

3. Find a Free app in the appstore that you wish to download and click it.
4. In the pop-up choose “Create new account” (do not login).
5. Fill in email and security question. Click continue.
6. Important! Choose the payment option “None”. If you input an international visa card it will verify the address and this won’t work.

7. Input a fake address in the country you have chosen. Find one in googlemaps or generate one from a service like this. As long as the postal zip is in the correct country you will be fine.
8. Verify your account sent to the email you specified.
9. Login to the Appstore and download the app that you are interested in using your new account.

Second step then is to fool the app that we are actually in the US, or the UK, or Hong Kong, or wherever. This will be done by connecting through a VPN provider in the country of interest. The best thing about this is that iOS has built in support for VPN, so you don’t need to install anything, nor do you need to jailbreak. You can find the VPN settings under General > Network > VPN on your device.

The toughest question to answer in all of this is which VPN service provider to use? And are there any free ones that work? I’ll start by answering if there are any free ones. Yes, BestFreeVPN does seem to work on the iPad and it is completely free. However with free services you can’t exactly expect best performance in terms of throughput, it may not work on 3G, likely they’ll be changing the VPN password every couple of hours, etc.

However, if you’ve been following my prior guides you will most likely have Giganews as your Usenet provider. As it turns out this will make you breeze through this problem without effort or ado. Don’t you just love it when you pay for something and get so much more than you bargained for? The solution that will work flawlessly to solve your problem is VyprVPN, which is availible to all Giganews users, and in some subscriptions it is already included.

VyprVPN has connections through Washington DC, London and Hong Kong (and quite a few more) which will be perfect for our purposes. Through the US VPN we can access app content like Hulu and Netflix from anywhere in the world, and through the London VPN we can access any BBC content. VyprVPN works like a charm across both 3G and WiFi. Once you have setup the connections on your iPad it is a simple one-click to activate it, and then your app will work just fine.

Hats off to the guys over at Giganews and Golden Frog.

So where in the world is your iPad?

Remember: Explore by clicking images. Don’t stick around here, but still – Stay tuned.

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