As announced on Google+ earlier this morning by the Android Developers page, app devs can now distribute their [free] wares to users in Iran. Paid apps and all apps with in-app billing will have to wait, possibly indefinitely. The complex and restrictive embargoes the US has placed on doing business in the country, particularly when it comes to accepting Iranian currency or working with Iranian financial institutions, probably are something of a hurdle in that regard.

It also doesn't help that the government of Iran has notoriously tense relations with Google. As of 5 months ago, Iran's leadership once again blacked out a number of Google properties as part of the country's increasingly oppressive internet restrictions. This blackout appears to still be in effect. Many Iranians have continued to work around these restrictions illegally, though, and Iran's government has historically had difficulty staying true to its word on the whole "Google issue."

Regardless, free apps can now be distributed in Iran to those people who are able to get to them. And in a country where the average person's internet is forcibly restricted to a speed of 128kbps, increased access to lightweight mobile apps is probably more than welcome.


David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://www.lcpint.com/ Lorenzo Cascio Palmieri

    Wait.. you are telling me that in Iran they didn’t have the Play Store before?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Nope. I'm a little surprised they got it at all. Practicing internet censorship is quick way onto Google's shit list.

      • Nick Sears

        Well, you can't be a hypocrite can you? Google sensors its own search results.

        • Thomas’

          And by censor you mean they don't display results which were forbidden by a court?

          Yeah, totally censorship.

      • Ali Abidrahmani

        Lol yeah,they even practiced only censoring Google's Ads in gmail so you could access gmail but Google couldn't make any money of it.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Sucks, doesn't it?

      • Nick Sears

        Very surprising. I thought the whole world had access to it. Or wait, was this just locked out to the devs?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Devs couldn't target their apps to Iran, period. Now they can, but only free ones.

          • http://www.lcpint.com/ Lorenzo Cascio Palmieri

            Oh shit.. that is really bad… I thought (as Nick thought) that the whole word had access to the play store! I knew that in China they didn’t have paid apps but i thought at least free apps were available in the whole world! I’m sorry for you guys!
            Sorry for the funny question: Did you have Play Store installed in your device? If yes, What did you use it for?!?!?

          • Moz

            Well the answer is yes and no, depending on the device and manufacturer and their policy.

            And it is used to access the free apps. How? well it's a bit exhaustive and to be honest dull process: You have to be rooted so you can use apps such as marketaccess, then you need change your IP address by using VPN or some kind of proxy (mostly use ProxyDroid) to manipulate the system (that you are in a country with no embargo, rather than Iran). There you go.

          • http://www.lcpint.com/ Lorenzo Cascio Palmieri

            Yeah i know the VPN process. I live in Italy and we can’t have Locket Swipe in Cash Out so I used it...

    • Amer Khaznadar

      The US embargo is all kinds of shitty to the average citizen in any of the blacklisted countries.
      For example in Syria, you can't download anything from Skype, Adobe, Sun or Oracle.
      Play Store and Google Code are blocked.
      Source Forge was also blocked for a while but later they gave developers the option to open their projects on their own responsibilities.
      There are also plenty of similar other stuff. And that's just talking about what's blocked from outside of Syria...

      • Mahir

        No worries. Wests democracy is on the way.

        • Amer Khaznadar

          All of what I've said are facts, no personal opinions and no mention of politics. If I said anything wrong, you're welcome to correct me.
          Otherwise, please don't bring politics into this.

    • Man of Persia

      What are you talking about guys? do you surprise? Ok i tell you more! Android Police bans Iran IPs too!! I can not visit AP with iranian IP.

      • http://www.lcpint.com/ Lorenzo Cascio Palmieri

        Nah… that’s not true! (please tell me it’s not true… If it’s true i’ll leave AP because this is called DISCRIMINATION)

        • Man of Persia

          Be sure! I am not lying. I tried several ISP and IP but AP bans all of them.
          I emailed AP and posted feedback but they did not answer! Now they say it is sucks that google bans Iran!

          • Man of Persia

            I posted last cm with Iranian IP. happily Disqus did not bans Iran Hooraaay

          • http://www.lcpint.com/ Lorenzo Cascio Palmieri

            That’s a shame… Hey Android Police, fu*k off. You should set your site to „Available to all countries” because we are all equal.

          • http://www.lcpint.com/ Lorenzo Cascio Palmieri

            By the way, please download my application. Actually it checks for some features of the phone to run my (next) other app: NFCTicket. NFCTicket is an awesome app that allows you to write something more than actions to the NFC Tags. This app will be available soon at the price of 1$ but free for who requested the code from this app’s menu. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.LCPInt.lcpintappsupportchecker

    • Aria Golestanara

      users in iran are very smart, i baught my uncle a sony xperia, and his downloading apps no problem via skype file sharing and apk's

    • arman

      we didn't have itunes, paypal ... ether

  • Milad Parsa

    No they didn't , funny but true , I don't know what took them so long tho...

  • Matthew Fry

    Just you wait, Iranian government. When Google gets Project Loon off the ground (pun intended) neither you nor anyone else is going to be able to restrict or censor the peoples of the world.

    Iran, you're on notice.

    • mgamerz

      Except for, you know, the giant obvious balloon.

    • Sam Hollis

      Do you live in a world without projectiles and aviation? Any hostile force will easily be able to destroy the balloons. Depending on the altitude, some rifles(probably mostly sniper rifles) will be able to take it out.

      • esper256

        Uhm what. The Loon balloons will be at around 20km altitude. Rifles? What a joke. I would be surprised if Iran had an aircraft that could go that height. For example an F-14 Tomcat will only go up to about 15km.

      • Thatguyfromvienna

        You might want to try to get your physics straight.

  • Omar

    This is a huge step forward from our Cold War-ish policies. Stop punishing the people for the crimes of their government. Give the people the tools to connect and enlighten themselves and maybe, just maybe, you'll gain their friendship and trust.

  • Ali Abidrahmani

    I am Iranian and I still receive 403 error both on updates and when I want to download Play Apps
    It's also worth noting that 128kbps restriction is only on some ISPs,in my province Gilan I own 1mbps

    • lljktechnogeek

      Can you access Google Play via the web interface without utilizing a proxy?

      • Ali Abidrahmani

        Oh,yeah that's changed!
        It didn't work before the new redesign,after the new redesign all options even movies and stuff started working(!,of course even though they started 'working' on web you couldn't use them on your phone,apps didn't install(phone would try to install apps after request from the web but ultimately 403 error was displayed every single time)),
        and now everything is disabled except free apps,That's good news,perhaps because that's going to actually work soon!

        • Thomas’

          Developer have to activate Iran manually. Also it takes some time the changes propagates to all server nodes, so this might explain the inconsistency.

    • Man of Persia

      Android Police bans Iranian IP and their staff say it is sucks that google bans Iran! LOL!

  • jlninja

    Thats it, im officially throwing away my android phone. Anyone doing business with Iran is off my buy list. I cant believe they would stoop that low.

    • sha

      Stupid American.

      • Amer Khaznadar

        Now now. Don't be a bigot like him.
        Stupidity knows no boundaries and that includes countries' borders.

      • Armus

        He may be but it is your responsibility to end your government's stupidity. We're working to end ours - hopefully the gop will be dead soon - but you have to meet us half way.

    • Thomas’

      Good luck fining your next device then.

      Since Apple sells iPhones in Iran, they're out as well.

  • Thatguyfromvienna

    Welcome aboard, Iran!

  • Karan O

    well it's not fully functional app store YET but i will use it via proxy + market unlocker as an AMERiCAN till it become FULLY functional !

    it's great news about iran apple is also lifting their bans from iran i hope in coming years we could use any app store and shipping services as other companies!

  • NimBold

    In iran, we should use proxy tools (which has been limited by government) and apps like "Market access)in order to download from play store. Still doing it for sure :)
    I also bought some apps and of course with a lot of trouble!
    Still love android and hope that one day we have unlimited access to Play store.

  • Armus

    Uranium 235 is the top download this quarter with Nuke an Infidel and Angry Wife Beheaders tied for second.

  • Armus

    Death to the great satan! Down with the infidels! They worship a god with a different name! Ooooo google play, well that can stay

  • Nena

    Thanks Google ... ^_^

  • arman ahmadi

    I hope this will be a start of unblocking Iranian users from internet

  • Ista

    Google should avoid telling half truth. The fact is that Google itself promotes some of its politically motivated services in Iran while banning Iranians from its scientific and applied services. And about google play store now this service is accessible openly to Iranian SIP users and there is no problem with internet speed as android programs are just few MBs. However for every single program their owner should specifically make it available to Iranians so practically only a handful programs are seen in the Google store. Moreover in downloading these few programs too all are encountered by Error 403! So one might think that Iranians don't know much about Android phones but thanks to several local stores no one have any problem in finding any software. So Google decision is so late and with no much Impact.

  • some Sudanese guy

    Yay I live in sudan and I found out that google play is not blocking as always so please developers make your apps also available in sudan (TT_TT)/

    • mohamed mj

      I can't use Google play
      just because I'm sudanes