When using Apple devices or Apple services, Apple requires an "Apple ID" to make everything work. An Apple ID is basically your Apple account that's used for everything from logging in to iCloud to making purchases to getting support to tracking your lost devices and items with Find My.

An Apple ID authenticates your identity and is required whenever you log into an Apple device to keep everything synced up. Making an Apple ID is entirely free, and this guide features everything you need to know about signing up and using your Apple ID.


How do I create an Apple ID?

Creating an Apple ID can be done when setting up a new device by tapping on "Forgot Password" or "don't have an Apple ID" and then following the setup steps, but it can also be done in the App Store on either an iOS device or a Mac.

Creating an Apple ID is also possible on a Windows PC and on the web, so basically, you can make an Apple ID on any of your devices. We have specific tutorials for creating an Apple ID on each device below.

Do I really need an Apple ID?

Yes. If you use an Apple device or want to use an Apple service like Apple TV+ or Apple Music, an Apple ID is required. On an Apple device, having an Apple ID allows you to access ‌iCloud‌, track and protect your iPhone with ‌Find My‌, sync settings if you have more than one Apple device, make ‌App Store‌ purchases, sync photos to ‌iCloud‌, and more.

An Apple ID linked to an Apple device is invaluable if your device is ever lost or stolen because it can be tracked with the ‌Find My‌ app. A feature called Activation Lock, which is linked to the Apple ID, prevents someone who has stolen your ‌iPhone‌ from being able to use it with a new account, effectively rendering it useless.

What do I do if I forget my Apple ID password?

If you forget your Apple ID password, you can use the forgotten password feature on the ‌iPhone‌, iPad, a Mac, or the web to reset the password. There's also a possibility that your Apple ID could become locked with too many login attempts, and Apple also has a process for unlocking it.

apple id locked
We've included how tos on both resetting your password and unlocking a locked Apple ID below.

Can I have multiple Apple IDs?

You can create multiple Apple IDs, but it's best to stick with one account. If you want all of your Apple services to work properly and your devices to sync, you need to make sure to use the same Apple ID everywhere you sign in.

What is an Apple ID used for?

Your Apple ID is your gateway to your Apple device, and it is the account that is used for all Apple services and devices. We've listed some of the ways the Apple ID is used below.

  1. Syncing content like contacts, photos, files, messages, backups, and more when ‌iCloud‌ services are enabled.
  2. Locating a lost or stolen device with ‌Find My‌.
  3. Making ‌App Store‌ purchases.
  4. Making Apple Store purchases.
  5. Using services like ‌Apple Music‌, Apple Arcade, and ‌Apple TV+‌.
  6. Activation Lock so a stolen device can't be used.

How old do you have to be to get an Apple ID?

In the United States, Apple's minimum age requirement to get a standalone Apple ID is 13. Children who are younger can have an Apple ID for Apple devices, but the Apple ID must be set up using Family Sharing so that a parent can monitor the child's activity.

Children must remain a part of the Family Sharing group until they turn 13, and there is no option for a child to have a standalone Apple ID. Note that the age limit varies by country and region.

How do I secure my Apple ID account?

Your Apple ID is the gateway to a lot of personal information about you, as it is the login used to access everything stored in the cloud from purchase information to photos. It's a good idea to add an extra layer of security to your account with Apple's two-step verification system.

2fa verification on ios
Two-step verification uses one of your Apple devices or a phone number to verify your identity before you're allowed to make changes to your account, sign into ‌iCloud‌, or make ‌App Store‌ or iTunes purchases from a new device.

It also includes a recovery key for safekeeping that will allow you to access your Apple ID account if your password or your Apple device is ever lost. It's a good idea to put this code in a secure place because there's often no way to recover an Apple ID account with no recovery key available and no known password.

Learn how to enable two-step verification with the steps outlined in our dedicated how to.

When setting up an Apple ID, it's also good practice to make sure to use a strong, secure password that uses a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols and is not used for other sites, and to choose security question answers that are difficult to guess.

Apple does not ask for Apple ID information, so never provide Apple ID data to anyone, including friends and family members. Apple will also never ask for passwords, security question answers, verification codes, or recovery keys, which is worth keeping in mind to make sure you never fall for any phishing scams.

Starting with iOS 15, Apple also allows you to set an Account Recovery contact that can help you access your Apple ID if you forget your password and don't have a secondary device. You can set this up by tapping on your profile picture in Settings, selecting Password & Security, tapping on Account Recovery, and then tapping the "+" button next to Add Recovery Contact. Note that all of your devices must be running iOS 15 to enable this feature.

In iOS 16.3, Apple has added a Security Keys feature to the Apple ID, allowing physical security keys like the Yubikey to serve as your extra authentication layer instead of digital two-factor verification. If you enable this, you will need two security keys, and you will need to get a physical code from them each time you sign into your Apple ID on a new device or when accessing iCloud.com.

What data is Apple collecting?

When you use an Apple ID and especially when using an Apple ID with ‌iCloud‌, Apple collects certain data about you. This includes your name, address, phone number, and device and app purchase history (with serial numbers and other info for all your devices), along with ‌iCloud‌ access logs, phone call and message metadata, repair transactions, and more.

Apple has specifics on the data that it collects on its website, and there's also a feature for requesting and downloading a copy of all of the data that Apple has collected about you.

Apple collects less data than other companies, but there's definitely personal data associated with your Apple ID, and it's worth knowing what information Apple has. Use the tutorial below if you're interested in getting a copy of your data from Apple.

How do I delete my Apple ID account and data?

If you're no longer using your Apple ID and have swapped over to another device company, you can delete your Apple ID. Similarly, if you don't want Apple to have data about you, you can delete it. Instructions are below.

Deleting an Apple ID account and its associated data is a big deal and it shouldn't be done if you're going to continue using Apple devices. Accounts that are deleted can't be reopened or reactivated in any way, and deleting an account removes access to ‌iCloud‌ photos, iMessage accounts, all Apple services including ‌iCloud‌, the ‌App Store‌, and more, and all ‌iCloud‌ content is deleted.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about Apple IDs, know of a something we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Related Articles

iOS 17 Passkey With Apple ID Feature 3

New Apple ID Sign-In Options: Phone Number on File or Trusted Device

Wednesday September 13, 2023 12:58 pm PDT by
The upcoming iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma updates for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac include a couple of new sign-in methods for an Apple ID account. First, it is now possible to sign into an Apple ID with any phone number or secondary email address on file with the account. We were able to sign into an Apple ID with a phone number on the Apple ID website using a Mac running macOS Ventura, ...
iOS 17 Passkey With Apple ID Feature 3

iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma Add Passkey Support to Your Apple ID

Tuesday June 20, 2023 10:38 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma, users with an Apple ID will automatically be assigned a passkey, allowing them to sign into their Apple ID with Face ID or Touch ID instead of their password on various Apple sign-in pages, including icloud.com, appleid.apple.com, appstoreconnect.apple.com, and more. Passkeys are a more secure alternative to passwords. Apple explains:A...
apple id website 1

Apple ID Website Gets Design Overhaul

Thursday November 4, 2021 11:19 am PDT by
Apple has redesigned its Apple ID website, introducing an entirely new look that's much more modern and clean than the prior design that was used. The Apple ID landing page has been updated with a new dot and Apple logo design, along with information on what the Apple ID website can be used for. The prior design was graphics heavy, featuring a large banner with people using various Apple...

iOS 15 Lets Your Family Access Your Data If You Die

Tuesday June 8, 2021 2:09 pm PDT by
With iOS 15, Apple is introducing a new Digital Legacy program that designates people as Legacy Contacts to let them access your Apple ID account and personal information in the event of your death. This feature does not appear to be live at the current time, but based on Apple's description, it will give your friends or family members access to your photos and other important data after...

Apple Shares Manual on How to Lock Down Devices When Personal Safety is at Risk

Friday December 18, 2020 9:17 am PST by
Apple recently shared a manual [PDF] that outlines the steps that one should take to protect their devices and their data when personal safety is at risk. This is designed for people who need to protect themselves from being tracked by a former loved one, a stalker, or another malicious person. There are a lot of location sharing and data sharing tools that are available in iOS, and those...
apple one prices

Apple One Subscription Plans Will Support Users Who Have Multiple Apple IDs

Thursday September 17, 2020 9:20 am PDT by
After Apple announced its Apple One service bundles at its "Time Flies" event earlier this week, there was uncertainty among some users with older Apple IDs about whether Apple One would work with multiple Apple IDs. Some users have two Apple IDs, often split between one for iCloud services and one for purchases and subscriptions. This is a result of the fact that the iTunes Store account...
apple id bonus jun2020

Get a 10% Bonus When Adding Funds to Your Apple ID Through July 10

Tuesday June 30, 2020 9:15 am PDT by
Apple is once again offering a 10 percent bonus when adding funds to your Apple ID account, through July 10, in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and likely other countries. The bonus can be applied once on up to $200 or £200 in Apple ID funds, which can be used towards purchases on the App Store, iTunes Store, Apple Books Store, an Apple Music or iCloud storage subscription, and so forth. If you add ...
app store bonus

Apple Offering 10% Bonus When Adding Funds to Apple ID in Select Countries

Monday March 23, 2020 9:55 am PDT by
Apple is once again offering a 10 percent bonus when adding funds to your Apple ID account through April 3 in the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, and select other countries. The bonus can be applied once on up to $200 or €300 in Apple ID funds, which can be used towards purchases on the App Store, iTunes Store, Apple Books Store, an Apple Music or iCloud storage subscription, and...
apple watch apple id verification code watchos 6

Apple Watch Can Display Apple ID Verification Codes Starting in watchOS 6

Monday June 10, 2019 9:18 am PDT by
Starting in watchOS 6, the Apple Watch has become a trusted device for Apple ID authentication purposes. When you or someone else signs in to your Apple ID on a new device or browser, the Apple Watch will automatically alert you, complete with an approximate location of the person. If the sign-in attempt is allowed, a six-digit verification code will then appear to be entered on the new...
itunes apple pay

Apple Pay Now Accepted for iTunes, App Store, Apple Music, and iCloud Purchases in Some Countries

Tuesday May 14, 2019 10:32 am PDT by
Apple Pay is now an accepted payment method for iTunes, App Store, and Apple Books purchases, as well as Apple Music and iCloud storage subscriptions, as reflected in a recently updated Apple support document. To link any credit or debit cards set up in the Wallet app with your Apple ID account, navigate to Settings > iTunes & App Store. Next, select your Apple ID email and then tap View...
apple bonus credit may 2019

Apple Offering 10% Bonus iTunes Credit When Adding Funds to Your Apple ID

Tuesday May 7, 2019 11:48 am PDT by
Apple has begun offering users the chance to add 10 percent extra credit to their App Store and iTunes accounts this week, similar to past offers from the company. For this deal, you'll have to add money to your Apple ID account from a credit or debit card connected to your account. To add the funds on your iPhone, visit the App Store, tap your profile picture, and then tap "Add Funds to...

Apple Offering 10% Bonus When Adding Funds to Your Account for App Store and iTunes Purchases

Sunday March 10, 2019 2:52 pm PDT by
Apple today sent out emails letting App Store and iTunes users know about a new promotion that offers a 10 percent bonus when adding funds to an Apple ID account. When you add money directly to your Apple ID from a credit or debit card for making App Store, iTunes, and iCloud purchases, Apple is adding bonus credit. Apple says the offer is valid on amounts ranging from $1.00 to $200, so...
apple id bonus

Apple Expands 10% Bonus When Adding Funds to Apple ID to More Countries Through December 24

Friday December 21, 2018 9:18 am PST by
Apple has extended and expanded its 10 to 15 percent bonus offer when adding funds directly to an Apple ID account. The offer was initially available in the U.S. only and set to expire December 20, but the bonus is now available through December 24 in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, according to Thrifter. The bonus can be applied once on up to $200 in...
apple id funds

Apple Offering 10% Bonus When Adding Funds Directly to Apple ID

Monday December 17, 2018 8:38 am PST by
Apple is rolling out a new promotion that offers customers a 10 percent bonus when adding funds directly to their Apple ID account in the United States between December 17-20. The bonus applies once on up to $200 and was first highlighted by Japanese blog Mac Otakara. The funds can be used towards purchases on the iTunes Store and App Store, an iCloud storage subscription, and so forth....

Some Users Locked Out of Their Apple IDs, Forced to Reset Passwords

Tuesday November 13, 2018 6:24 am PST by
Apple appears to have locked a select group of users out of their Apple ID accounts over the past 20 hours or so, with no clear indication yet as to why the incident has occurred. According to reports on Reddit and Twitter, users are being kicked out of their Apple IDs for security reasons, and forced to reset their password to gain access to their account. Users report this happening...
data privacy apple

Apple Customers in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand Can Download a Copy of Their Data Starting Today

Wednesday October 17, 2018 9:00 am PDT by
Apple today is extending its full-featured Data and Privacy portal to the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Apple customers in those four countries will now have the option to download a copy of any data associated with their Apple ID account that Apple maintains, such as calendars, reminders, photos, and documents stored in iCloud, purchase histories, Game Center activity,...

Apple Apologizes After Stolen Apple ID Credentials Aided in Phishing Attack in China

Tuesday October 16, 2018 7:23 am PDT by
Apple has formally apologized to users in China over the hacking of some Chinese accounts in a series of phishing scams that hit the country last week. The successful phishing attacks used stolen Apple IDs to gain access to customer funds, leading to "a small number of...users' accounts" being accessed through these scams (via The Wall Street Journal). In a statement shared in China today,...

Apple Now Letting Apple IDs With Third-Party Email Addresses Be Updated to Apple Email Addresses

Tuesday October 31, 2017 6:30 pm PDT by
Apple today made a small change to the way Apple IDs work, and for the first time, Apple customers who have an Apple ID that uses a third-party email address can update that Apple ID to use an Apple @icloud.com, @me.com, or @mac.com email address. Prior to today, an Apple ID that used a third-party email address could be changed to another third-party email address, but there wasn't an option...

Developer Demonstrates iOS Phishing Attack That Uses Apple-Style Password Request

Tuesday October 10, 2017 2:47 pm PDT by
Developer Felix Krause today shared a proof of concept phishing attack that's gaining some traction as it clearly demonstrates how app developers can use Apple-style popups to gain access to an iPhone user's Apple ID and password. As Krause explains, iPhone and iPad users are accustomed to official Apple requests for their Apple ID and password for making purchases and accessing iCloud, even...
apple get support

Apple Replaces Support Profiles With New Tool That Only Shows Devices Signed Into Your Apple ID

Monday October 24, 2016 6:49 pm PDT by
Apple recently removed Support Profiles from its website, redirecting the page to a new "Get Support" tool that similarly enables customers to check their technical support and service coverage status for iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other Apple products they own. There is, however, one notable difference. The new "Get Support" tool only lists Apple products signed into any given Apple ID,...