How to find, change, create or delete your Apple ID

What should you do if you forget your ID or need to change the password associated with your Apple ID?

Your Apple ID is the login user name you use for Apple's iTunes, App Store, iMessage and FaceTime services, Apple Online Store, Support Forums, Genius Bar appointments, product registration and Developer account. It will be associated with your iCloud account and any syncing and Messaging services provided by Apple. Typically your Apple ID will be an email address and it is likely that you created an Apple ID years ago when you first registered a Mac or iOS device.

How do I get an Apple ID?

You probably already have one, chances are that when you were setting up your Apple device you entered and email address and created a password. That email address is your Apple ID. If you're not sure, visit My Apple ID and click Find your Apple ID.

If you don't have an Apple ID, create one at My Apple ID. Use your primary email address when you set up your Apple ID.

How can I change my Apple ID

Apple recommends you change your Apple ID to your current, working email address. This will not create another Apple ID, it will only change the associated email address. Go to My Apple ID, click "Manage your Apple ID," and sign in. With the Name, ID, and Email Address drawer selected, click Edit next to Apple ID and Primary Email Address. Now enter your new email address. Make sure that the new address you enter isn't already associated with another Apple ID.

Note: Apple IDs that use email addresses ending in,, or cannot be changed to another email address. If you no longer use these Apple email address be sure to add your valid email address as an additional email address. Apple even goes so far as to recommend that you don't use an address that ends in, or as your Apple ID.

Why you should tie a dominant email address to your Apple ID

You will receive emails whenever you pay for content on the iTunes and App Stores. You will also get an alert if your password for the ID is changed, if Find My Device is used, or if your Apple ID is added to a new device.

As long as you are receiving these emails somewhere you are likely to notice them, you will know if someone has hijacked your account. If you do not use the email address regularly an alternative may be wise.

If you need to change the primary email address associated with your Apple ID you need to go to the My Apple ID page. Select Manage your Apple ID and sign in. When you arrive at the Edit your Apple ID page you can select Edit beside the details of your Primary Email Address. Replace the email address and then confirm it. If it's a new address you'll need to verify it: Apple will send you a notification to that email address.

You can also add an additional email address to the account and also receive notifications there. Click on Add Email Address, input the email address and click Save Changes. A verification email will be sent to that account, you just need to verify it from that account and you are all set.

When you need to change the email address associated with your Apple ID

If your email has been compromised or you have changed jobs and with it your email address, you may need to change the email address associated with the account.

Log onto the My Apple ID website. Select Manage your Apple ID and sign in.

You can also add an additional email address to the account and also receive notifications there. Click on Add Email Address, input the email address and click Save Changes. A verification email will be sent to that account, you just need to verify it from that account and you are all set.

What to do if you have forgotten your Apple ID

If you have forgotten what your Apple ID username is there are a few ways to find out.

If you use your Apple ID when buying apps and music on your iPhone or iPad you'll find the details of your Apple ID in Settings > iTunes & App Stores. Your Apple ID can also be found in Settings > iCloud > Account.

If there is no Apple ID listed in either location visit the My Apple ID page on the web. Below Manage your Apple ID is a further box: Create an Apple ID, and below that a link to Find your Apple ID. Click this and provide the requested information.

The outcome may be that Apple finds multiple addresses associated with the information provided. You should select the account that you used most recently and then Apple will send you an email to that address, or allow you to answer a security question.

The email will direct you to Apple's site to reset your Apple ID password associated with that email address.

What if you've forgotten your Apple ID password

If you can't remember your Apple ID password you can use the password retrieval process at My Apple ID. Click on Manage your Apple ID and on the next page enter your Apple ID and then click Next. You can then choose whether to have a verification email sent to your email address, or you can go through he verification process online.

What to do if you think someone has compromised your Apple ID

As above, changing your password is a simple task, you enter the email address associated with your Apple ID and Apple will send you an email allowing you to change the password.

The only issue is that each password is associated with each individual email address, and if you have associated multiple email addresses with then you'll need to change the password associated with each of those.

What if you have more than one Apple ID?

It is possible that your Apple ID in Settings > iTunes & App Stores is different to that in Settings > iCloud > Account. Perhaps the person who gave you the iOS device set it up for you with their details, or perhaps you share an Apple ID with a family member, however, you shouldn't really share your Apple ID account information with other people. Each person should have their own Apple ID.

Unfortunately, Apple IDs cannot be merged. You should use your preferred Apple ID from now on, but you will still be able to access your purchased items such as music, movies, or software using your other Apple IDs.

Note: If your iCloud ID isn't set to your email you will want to delete that iCloud account and change it so it's associated with an email you use.

What to do if your Apple ID has been disabled for security reasons

If you see the message: "This Apple ID has been disabled for security reasons" when you enter your password, this means that someone was unable to sign in to this account multiple times. The Apple ID system will disable the account to prevent unauthorised people from gaining access to your information. You'll need to reset your password.

Protect yourself with better security setting for your Apple ID

Once you are logged into your Apple ID at Apple's My Apple ID page, you can improve your security settings by clicking Password and Security on the left hand side. Apple will ask you a number of questions - make sure the answers you give are memorable as you will need to recall these if you need to answer security questions to access your account in future.

Luckily you can change the answers to the security questions provided when you originally signed up for your Apple ID. Go to My Apple ID and click Manage your Apple ID. Sign in with your Apple ID name and password, go to the section Password and Security and click Reset your security information.

Apple has an extra level of security called Two Step Verification. When you use your Apple ID not only will you enter your Apple ID, you will receive a verification code on the device or devices you registered, you will need to enter this on the device on which you are making the purchase. You will also get a 14-digit Recovery Key for safekeeping which you can use to access your account if you ever forget your password or lose your device. You will need to have Find My iPhone turned on on the device in order to receive the verification code. You should also remove a device from your list of trusted devices if you lose it.

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Tags iPadsmartphonestabletsAppleiPhonehardware systemsconsumer electronics

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Karen Haslam

Macworld U.K.
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