Your Apple ID is much more than a simple username. It’s a key that unlocks a long list of Apple products and services on any of numerous devices. iCloud uses an Apple ID; so do iTunes, Apple Music, the App Store on Mac and iOS, the Books app, and more. An Apple ID protects your personal information, including email and iOS 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!
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 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 if I have a device that’s too old to work with two-factor authentication?
- 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 exactly should I do if I think someone is hacking my Apple ID account?
- How can I recover a forgotten Apple ID password?
- 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?
And that’s just the beginning. Glenn has packed a remarkable amount of concise problem-solving information into this compact, 76-page 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.
In version 1.0, Glenn didn’t cover comprehensively enough how to enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for an Apple ID when you don’t use that Apple ID for iCloud with any current device under your control. This is now more fully documented in case you have such an Apple ID. See "Set Up 2FA Without a Device."
This is particularly helpful for people in the Apple Developer program who have an Apple ID devoted to development but not iCloud, as Apple announced in early February 2019 that all Apple IDs used for development must have 2FA enabled.
Glenn also explained more fully how to trigger sending a 2FA verification code via SMS or an automated voice call if you don’t have access to a trusted iOS or macOS device. See "Log In with 2FA by SMS or Voice Call."
Posted by Glenn Fleishman on February 15, 2019
Apple recently told software developers that two-factor authentication (2FA) will be required as of February 27, 2019, for Apple ID accounts used to log in to the company’s developer website, and which are used for other purposes to create identification and encryption documents. That’s a concern for some developers who haven’t enabled 2FA on the account or accounts they use for development purposes.
Apple requires that you use macOS or iOS to enable 2FA for an Apple ID, as I describe in Take Control of Your Apple ID in some detail (along with how to take steps so that you set up 2FA with the right recovery details in case you have a problem with the account or someone tries to hack into it). That requires a given Mac or iOS device has that Apple ID used as its iCloud login account.
But some developers use one or more Apple IDs for development that they don’t employ with iCloud on any device. They were left wondering how they could possibly enable 2FA, even though they can use telephone-based SMS or automated-voice codes to confirm logins after setting it up.
Fortunately, Take Control of Your Apple ID has the answer (in the section “Set up 2FA Without a Device”). Here’s a brief rundown:
- Set up a separate login account on a Mac, even one you don’t routinely use.
- Log in to iCloud via the iCloud preference pane using the Apple ID you want to upgrade to 2FA.
- Make sure to set at least a couple phone numbers to use as verification codes in the process of set up.
Now, whenever you log into a developer resource or any Apple site or service that requires that Apple ID, Apple will attempt to send a verification code to the macOS account you logged in with, which won’t do anything. Instead, click or tap “Didn’t get a verification code” and then you can choose to receive an SMS or voice-based code to complete the login (as explained in depth in the section “Log In with 2FA by SMS or Voice Call”).
July 14, 2019—We hope to release a minor update to this book to cover changes in Catalina and iOS 13/iPadOS 13 later in 2019.