You'd be forgiven for thinking the entire world seems to have lost its mind over Pokémon Go. And while the game is now available in many Western countries, some have yet to see an official launch. That's due to developer Niantic's staggered launch for the game, as its servers struggle to hold up to the demands of millions of players around the globe.
Over on iOS it's relatively easy to sidestep this restriction — Pokémon trainers on iPhone and iPad can simply switch to the U.S. App Store and be on their merry way.
Since there's no equivalent on Android — in fact, the Play Store is smart enough that it's not even fooled by using a VPN — you're left having to track down an APK file from other places. That's not something we recommend, as installing APKs from sketchy sites — and enabling Android's "unknown sources" option — is a great way to end up with malware. The bad guys are ready and waiting to take advantage of the intense interest around Pokémon Go, with remote access malware having been found lurking in at least one hacked APK.
In the absence of any 100 percent safe way around the region lock, the best thing to do might be to wait it out the game officially launches in more countries. After all, there've been plenty of teething problems already — partly due servers struggling to cope, partly due to the inevitable bugs that accompany the first public release of an app.
There's also no guarantee the app will actually work if you're outside an officially supported area — though this issue seems mostly isolated to parts of Asia and South America.
It's far from ideal, but at least this way you'll be guaranteed a smoother, malware-free Pokémon-training experience when the rollout expands. In the meantime, be sure to hit our Pokémon Go forums and vent your frustrations. And if you're not sure what all the fuss is about, Michael Fisher (a.k.a. MrMobile) has a great Pokémon primer video.
Happy hunting, and stay safe out there!
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Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.