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How To Change Location on YouTube TV

Watch your local networks miles away from home.

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By
&
Gabe Turner
Gabe Turner Chief Editor
Last Updated Feb 13, 2024
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Feb 13, 2024
Written by humans, not robots. Learn More

If you subscribe to YouTube TV, chances are you have already selected a Home Area for your subscription. This area determines the local networks you can watch, which includes news, weather, and sports.

YouTube TV Travel Popup message
YouTube TV Travel Popup message

The problem? When you travel outside your Home Area, YouTube TV detects your new location and hides the channels not available in that location – even if they’re available in your Home Area. Fortunately, there are workarounds, from changing your Home Area to hiding your real location with a VPN. Let’s dive in to see how you can access YouTube TV from other locations, in the United States and beyond.

How to Change Location on YouTube TV With VPNs

It’s not always foolproof, but our preferred method for accessing YouTube TV outside our Home Area is by using a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, provides a way to change your device’s location by hiding your real IP address and giving you a new one. IP addresses are tied to an approximate geographical location, so if you connect to a server within your state or region, YouTube TV will think you never left home. See below for some of our favorite VPNs, which are also some of the best for changing YouTube TV location.

Editor's Rating:
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9.4 /10

Other Simple Ways To Change Location on YouTube TV

VPNs are great; besides YouTube TV, they let you change your Netflix region to access more movie libraries, access Hulu outside the U.S., and use dozens of online services that are not actually available in your area. That said, the best VPNs we’ve tested all cost money.

Before getting yourself a VPN subscription, you may be able to change location on YouTube TV by changing your profile’s Home Area. This simple method is free, but there’s a limit to how often you can change your Home Area.

Read on below how to change your Home Area, but if you’ve already reached the limit, scroll further down to the VPN section to find out how to change location using a VPN instead.

How To Change Your Home Area

Your Home Area is tied to your zip code, thus, YouTube TV uses it to determine which programs and networks to show you. You can watch, stream, and record any network available in your Home Area.

We recommend changing your Home Area if (and only if) you have plans to live in a different zip code for an extended period – let’s say six months – because you can change it only twice per year.

How to Change Your Home Area on a Computer or Android

  1. Open YouTube TV.
  2. Click on your profile picture.
  3. Click “Location.”
  4. Next to “Home Area,” click “Update.”
  5. Update Your Home Area.
Area settings on YouTubeTV
Area settings on YouTubeTV

How to Change Your Home Area on an iOS device (i.e., an iPhone or iPad)

  1. Sign in to YouTube TV on a mobile web browser or a computer.
  2. Click on your profile picture.
  3. Click on your Location
  4. Click “Update” in the “Home Area” section.
YoutubeTV Account Settings
Change your Home Area on the Main Settings Page

How To Update Your Current Playback Area

As opposed to your Home Area, your Current Playback Area is your current location, as determined by your device’s location beacons (GPS, IP address, etc.). You can update your Current Playback Area as many times as you want, but bear in mind that you’d have to be in the location you’re saying you’re in when you do that. Also note that while you’ll be able to access channels in your current area, the record functionality is reserved for your Home Area only, plus you’ll lose access to your Home Area programming until you get back home.

How To Update Your Current Playback Area on a TV

You can change your current playback area on a smart TV, but keep your phone handy as you’ll need it to verify your location.

  1. Open the YouTube TV app on your TV.
  2. Click on your profile picture.
  3. Click “Settings.”
  4. Click “Area.”
  5. In the “Current Playback Area”, click “Update”.
  6. On your phone, go to tv.youtube.com/verify.
  7. Click “Update Location” to allow the YouTube TV to use your device’s location, which will update your current playback area.
Current playback area setting on YouTubeTV
Current playback area on YouTubeTV

How To Update Your Current Playback Area on a Mobile Device or Web Browser

You can also update your current YouTube TV location using a computer or mobile device. You can use either the YouTube TV app or a browser.

  1. Open YouTube TV.
  2. Click on your profile picture.
  3. Click “Settings.”
  4. Click “Area.”
  5. Next to “Current Playback Area,” click “Update.”
YouTubeTV Location settings on an iPhone
YouTubeTV Location settings on an iPhone

VPNs

Unlike changing your Home Area or Current Playback Area, which both require you to be in the new location physically, using a VPN could let you change your YouTube TV location without actually being there. We say “could” because it’s not always guaranteed to work; YouTube is constantly updating its algorithm to block out exactly that use of VPNs. Take a look at our top YouTube TV VPNs for a list of VPNs that are most likely to work.

VPNs can change a device’s location by changing its IP address, or more accurately, hiding the real IP address behind a new one provided by the VPN server. As we saw earlier, however, YouTube TV bases its location detection on more than just the IP address location. It also uses GPS coordinates a.k.a. your device’s location service. Unfortunately, not many VPNs can change your GPS location.

Watching YoutubeTV with a VPN (1)
Changing your IP address with a VPN is the easiest way to change your YouTube TV location

If you need an Android VPN, we recommend Surfshark, which you can learn more about in our Surfshark review. Surfshark has a feature that will change your phone’s GPS location data, not just your IP address. That means it’s your best bet for setting up an Android VPN to change your YouTube TV location. Think of it like a one-two punch: Change your IP address, then your GPS location.

Note: Surfshark’s GPS-changing feature only works on Android devices.

For Mac users, there are tons of great Mac VPNs that make it easy to set up a VPN on Macs. Mac doesn’t like users to change locations, so VPNs are definitely the best workaround for changing Mac locations.

How to Set Up and Use A VPN

While VPNs sound complicated to use, they’re actually pretty simple. All you need is a subscription to a VPN service and the VPN app.

  1. Buy a VPN subscription. We suggest going for a VPN free trial to test out whether the specific VPN service works with YouTube TV.
  2. Log-in to your web dashboard.
  3. Go to the Downloads page and download the VPN app for your device.
  4. Install, and then sign-in.
  5. Choose a location. Some VPNs provide servers in specific states.
  6. Connect and start watching.

Once again, most VPNs won’t change your GPS location. That means you can’t use them to change your Home Area or Current Playback Area, as doing either requires that you provide YouTube TV access to your GPS coordinates.

So when should you use a VPN? One thing we’ve tried is to access our Home Area while traveling to keep access to our favorite local channels and the ability to record.

Browser Extensions

VPNs also have browser extensions, which is certainly an option if you watch YouTube TV mainly on your computer’s browser. For example, there are really good VPNs for Chrome, the $4.99 per month Mozilla VPN for Firefox, and the free Opera VPN. Here’s how to use the last one:

  1. Open Opera.
  2. Go to Settings by clicking Alt and P.
  3. Click “Features.”
  4. Click “VPN.”
  5. Toggle on “Enable VPN.”
  6. Switch to the server of your choice.2

Aside from VPNs, there are other browser extensions that can help you change your YouTube TV location. For example, there’s the Manual Geolocation extension for Chrome, which lets you override the HTML geolocation in Chrome. Essentially, you’ll set which location your browser broadcasts to YouTube TV. There’s a similar extension called Location Guard for Firefox.

Activating Opera's VPN to Change Location
Activating Opera’s VPN to Change Location

Home Area 101

Now, let’s get into detail about Home Areas. When we first signed up for YouTube TV, Google asked us for our ZIP code, which determined our Home Area. Then, we confirmed this location through our iPhone’s device location permissions.

Youtube TV Homepage
Youtube TV’s Homepage

This location determined the local affiliate networks we could see, but when we traveled, we couldn’t watch these networks. Instead, we saw the local networks of the place we were in physically, and we couldn’t record anything. That’s when we started changing our YouTube TV locations.

Restrictions on Changing Home Areas

Unfortunately, you can’t change your Home Area as many times as you want. You can only change it twice a year, and you must physically be in your Home Area to change it. If you travel frequently and don’t use YouTube TV at least once in three months in your Home Area, you may stop getting your local networks.3 So, in the case of your Home Area, it’s true that if you don’t use it, you lose it.

IP Addresses vs. GPS Locations

In all of our talk about changing locations, whether it’s changing locations on a PC or changing locations on an iPhone, we say a lot about IP addresses and GPS, but what do these terms really mean?

First of all, you should know that both IP addresses and GPS locations are types of information that can tell someone your location. There are differences between the two, of course.

GPS (Global Positioning System) locations are more exact. They can pinpoint your precise coordinates using satellites that orbit the earth. That’s why it’s harder to spoof your GPS location.

On the other hand, IP addresses are network identifiers. Every internet-connected device gets a unique IP address, which is a numeric string that serves as the device’s mailing address on the web. Identifying a user’s location isn’t the main use of IP addresses, but since IP addresses are tied to an approximate location (down to the city level) and because there are no special permissions required to see a user’s IP address, most online services use it to determine where a user is browsing from.

Services that use IP addresses to find out users’ location are easier to access. A simple use of a VPN, which again hides and changes your IP address, could make them think you’re browsing from a different location. One example is Netflix.

On the other hand, services that use GPS location are harder to fool. You can change your IP address all you want, but it won’t change the fact that your device’s GPS is pointing to your actual location. Only GPS location software can help you change your location.

And then there’s YouTube TV, which uses both your IP address and GPS location to determine your home and current locations. If you want to change your YouTube TV location, you’ll need software that can hide both your IP address and your GPS location.

Recap

That’s all we have for changing your location on YouTube TV, but if you’d like to watch other streamers, learn how to change your Hulu location or how to change your Netflix region. While you’re at it, check out the best VPNs for Hulu and the best VPNs for Netflix. After all, when you’re looking for something to watch, you tend to bop around different apps, so we’ve got you covered for all of the major players.

Frequently Asked Questions

Since changing YouTube TV locations isn’t always the easiest thing to do, we’ve answered your most frequently asked questions here.