How to Download from BBC iPlayer Outside UK in 2021

The two VPN services mentioned by this article include –

Identity Cloaker – primarily a security service which has worked perfectly to access streaming services like the BBC by the author for many years.  It only has a PC version though, so you have to set it up manually on any other device.

NordVPN is another VPN service which you can use to watch iPlayer abroad.  It’s sometimes slightly slower than Identity Cloaker, but has versions for most clients – including applications for all major mobile phones.  Works well and is very  good value if you subscribe for one of the long term deals, they do offer a money back guarantee if you’re concerned.  You can enable it on any device then you’ll be able to download the BBC iPlayer App outside the UK.

Both of these services will allow you to bypass the geo restrictions and access the BBC, beware as many, many VPNs are virtually completely blocked.   NordVPN is the cheapest but only if you lock into one of the longer subscriptions, it is also easier to use on smart phones and other devices.  Identity Cloaker is by far the most reliable VPN for the BBC as they don’t have anywhere near as many users accessing the BBC and therefore rarely get blocked.

So just to clarify, if you want to access BBC iPlayer then use a UK based VPN. It will enable you to do the following –

  • Download BBC iPlayer App Outside UK – if you want to download the application itself on your phone, tablet or media device ensure  you are connected to a UK VPN server first.
  • Download BBC iPlayer Videos to watch without an internet connection – you should enable the virtual private network to download the videos, but you can watch them anywhere offline.
  • Stream BBC iPlayer channels live – every BBC channel stream live through iPlayer so you can watch these on any mobile device or computer.  Obviously remember the time difference, most shows are also archived to watch later but there are some exceptions like the BBC news, live sports, some radio shows etc.

How to Download BBC iPlayer Videos Outside the UK

The BBC’s iPlayer has a fantastic feature which sometimes people forget about – i.e. you can download videos from BBC iPlayer onto any device which is able to store them. So for instance you can easily download a load of programmes onto the hard disk of your laptop and watch them whenever you like.   If you follow the below instructions you can use BBC iPlayer to download outside the UK too. Just to clarify once downloaded you can watch these videos anywhere, there’s no UK only restriction after downloading and you don’t even need an internet connection. Perfect for short trips abroad when the hotel Wifi costs a small fortune.

bbc iplayer downloads abroad

To download a programme to your computer simply visit the BBC iPlayer site and go to the programme you want as normal.  Then instead of streaming the BBC live look for the ‘download’ tab which should be near the bottom.  You’ll be asked if you’ve installed the BBC downloader before with this message –

 BBC iPlayer Download Outside UK

If you’ve never downloaded directly then simply select yes and let it install iPlayer Downloads application – it’s not very big and installs quite quickly.   That’s it really the downloading application will install and you can download as much as you like space permitting – if space/bandwidth are an option then select the SD versions of anything. Your iplayer downloader will work fine on any number of devices.

If you’re abroad, it’s virtually the same but you’ll need to hide your location in order to download anything.

The following video shows how it works

It’s Easy to Use a BBC iPlayer Download Outside UK

So just to summarise:

  • You Can Watch Downloaded Programmes Anywhere in the World
  • You Can Only Download Whilst in the UK (or using a UK VPN)
  • You can Watch at Any time until they expire (Depends on when they were broadcast but usually a few weeks)
  • You Don’t Need an Internet Connection to Watch them

Download Videos from BBC iPlayer Anywhere

The files can get quite large so be careful that you’ve got enough storage on your device particularly on Smart Phone, the HD versions are much bigger so stick to SD if space or network speed is an issue. There are apparently some methods to even remove drm from iplayer or even convert BBC iPlayer files from mp4 format although I’m not sure if any of these work that well. Indeed every iPlayer converter I’ve seen has not really been worth the effort.  If you just download them normally then they will eventually expire usually in a couple of weeks, there are apparently some iPlayer ripper programs about but I’m afraid I’ve never tried them.

To be honest, there’s lots of information on the various ways to keep iPlayer files forever but none of them look entirely convincing.  Some of the solution like converting iPlayer to MP3 or other similar options on how to keep BBC iPlayer downloads forever invariably require a huge loss of quality in video and/or sound.  That’s presuming they even work, what’s more the BBC is gradually extending the life of many programmes in the archive.  The recent dramas have expiration dates of 12 months on the BBC iPlayer app so maybe these will keep extending and there will be no real need to convert iPlayer files to an inferior format.

During 2019 there have been some updates to the BBC iPlayer site, in particular you now have to create a user account before using the site.  If you’re outside the UK, don’t worry simply enable your VPN, connect to a UK server and then create the account as normal.  It will ask you for a UK postcode during the registration but as long as you use a valid one it won’t be a problem (just pick any UK postcode).   The account is primarily to keep track of your preferences and viewing habits in a user profile.  However they have also recently extended the expiry time of programmes,  most are now available for a full twelve months on BBC iPlayer.  This increased time also applies to BBC iPlayer downloads abroad, which is great news!

If you leave the VPN connected, then you can watch any of the programmes by streaming them directly to your computer.  Make sure you’re connected to a UK server though, this ensures that you have a UK IP address when connected.    Although the BBC have been blocking some of the less sophisticated VPN services during 2017 there are still a selection that are still working fine.   The one I recommend is called Identity Cloaker which has been working fine with BBC iPlayer for nearly ten years. It is also extremely fast which makes it ideal if you want to download videos from BBC iplayer quickly.

Try the Identity Cloaker 10 Day Trial Here

10 thoughts on “How to Download from BBC iPlayer Outside UK in 2021”

  1. So to download BBC iPlayer app outside uk – I need to connect to a UK server before opening the app store? Then it works ok without VPN ?

    • Sorry no, you need to connect to the UK server to install the application and every time you want to download bbc iplayer videos or stream directly from the site. After downloading you can watch them anywhere.

  2. So which one can I use to download iplayer content on my phone – Identity Cloaker or Nord VPN. I couldn’t see how to install the cloaker one onto my phone. Should I use Nord instead?

    • Technically you can use either. Nord VPN is easier though because it has an app you can install for all smart phones. You can use Identity Cloaker too but you have to install a manual VPN connection to their servers. It’s not that hard to do though and they supply instructions if you subscribe.

  3. Will any VPN work? There’s loads around do they all work on BBC? Also if I could VPN back to my computer in the UK would that work too??

    • Some work, but many are blocked by the BBC unfortunately – check before you buy any long subscription. Yes if you can VPN back to your home computer (although usually better to just VPN to the router) it will work as long as it’s in the United Kingdom. Can be quite slow but that depends on your connection and the router.

  4. Thanks for the article – just so I can check 🙂 Can download programmes even when abroad with Identity Cloaker? Plus can watch anywhere after downloading for a year after?
    Also I can switch my German Netflix for the US one – connect to a US server first? Thanks for answering buddy

    • Yes that’s right – most programmes are available for a year apart from films, sporting events and news programmes which are much shorter. Works perfectly with all the other UK TV sites – it’s worth checking out ITV Hub, Channel 4 and 5 as well. The access to US Netflix is a bit intermittent, it does usually work but not sure if they support it anymore. It’s become increasingly difficult (and expensive) to bypass the filters that Netflix uses.

  5. Thanks this is very useful as I’m going to work abroad for a few months and I’ll miss the BBC. One other question if I may, would this also allow me to access an English Netflix account – I’d heard they’d blocked all VPNs.

    • You’re in luck – Identity Cloaker is one of the very few VPNs which still work with Netflix. However there are some caveats – firstly you have to use the Identity Cloaker software not set up the VPN manually. Secondly it’s primarily setup to use the American version of Netflix (by selecting a US based server. However the UK version of Netflix also seems to work ok, so try that if you prefer. They’re not advertising it on their site in order to avoid being targeted by Netflix but it’s been working fine for nearly a year now.

      Being low key is important nowadays, it’s one of the reasons why Identity Cloaker has never been blocked by the BBC too in over a decade. Never pick a VPN that advertises directly the ability to access these channels they never last long.


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