Prevent (or solve) problems with your Apple ID!
Version 4.0, published September 21, 2023

The center of the Apple world is the Apple ID. This little identifier ties up your access to iCloud, to purchased and streaming music, TV, and movies, and to all your devices. While an Apple ID account is critical, Apple has made it difficult to navigate the many features associated with it—and particularly to troubleshoot when things go wrong. This book helps you manage your password, enhanced security, and account details, and recovery options, like the Recovery Key and Recovery Contact. You will find it invaluable as a guide for every-day Apple ID questions, and in a pinch when you’re at wit’s end.

Everything Apple relies on your Apple ID. It’s a key that unlocks a long list of Apple products and services on any of numerous devices. iCloud uses an Apple ID, as does Apple Music; the App Store; the Music, TV, and Books apps; and more. An Apple ID protects your personal information, including email and iOS/iPadOS backups; helps you find a lost iPhone; and can even unlock your Mac. So it goes without saying that if something goes wrong with your Apple ID, you could be in for a world of hurt.

Unfortunately, things go wrong with Apple IDs all the time. Fortunately, Glenn Fleishman, a veteran technology journalist and the author of Macworld’s “Mac 911” column, is ready to help with expert advice on how to manage your Apple ID—including how to prevent, solve, or work around most common problems!

This latest edition is fully updated for all the changes released by Apple in 2023 connected to your Apple ID, as well as for iOS 17, iPadOS 17, macOS 14 Sonoma, watchOS 10, tvOS 17, and other Apple products and services.

In this book, Glenn answers questions like:

  • What all is my Apple ID used for?
  • How does my iCloud account relate to my Apple ID?
  • What’s two-factor authentication and how do I manage it—and not get locked out of my account?
  • Should I invest in hardware security keys to up the protection of my Apple ID account?
  • What problems can two-factor authentication (2FA) solve, and how do I use it?
  • Are there other mechanisms I can use to ensure that I can recover an Apple ID in the event of a problem? (Spoiler: yes!)
  • What should I do if I have two or more Apple IDs or iCloud accounts?
  • Will I lose access to all my Apple media purchases if I move to another country?
  • Can I share an Apple ID with someone else?
  • What does an Apple One account offer and how does it interact with Family Sharing and iCloud+ storage tiers?
  • Is there an explanation for how code-based and hardware-based second factors protect my account and how they differ from passkeys? (Yes!)
  • What exactly should I do if I think someone is hacking my Apple ID account?
  • How can I recover a forgotten Apple ID password?
  • What happens if I’m assaulted or drugged and someone gains access to my iPhone passcode and resets my Apple ID? (Sadly, a too real, if uncommon, problem.)
  • What steps should I take if Apple locks me out of my account?
  • If I lose access to an email address associated with my Apple ID, what can I do?
  • What Apple ID changes in recent versions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS do I need to know about?
  • How can I use Family Sharing to share data and purchases within my family?
  • What types of subscriptions can I manage with my Apple ID, and how?
  • Which payment methods can I associate with my Apple ID, and how do I manage them?

And that’s just the beginning. Glenn has packed a remarkable amount of concise problem-solving information into this comprehensive book. Read it before you encounter Apple ID problems to minimize your risk, and if you’ve already encountered a problem, read it to find the best path to a rapid solution.

Table of Contents

  1. Read Me First
  2. Introduction
  3. Apple ID Quick Start
  4. Where to Log In with Your Apple ID
  5. Understand Your Apple ID
  6. Prevent Apple ID Problems
  7. Authenticate Your Apple ID Login
  8. Recover Your Account
  9. Sign In with Your Apple ID
  10. Manage Multiple Apple IDs
  11. Split or Migrate Apple IDs
  12. Share with Your Family
  13. Subscribe to Services
  14. Cope with a Hack of Your Apple ID Account
  15. Solve Common Problems
  16. About This Book
  17. Copyright and Fine Print