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Apple ID is an authentication method used by Apple for iPhone, iPad, Mac and other Apple devices. Apple IDs contain user personal information and settings. When an Apple ID is used to log in to an Apple device, the device will automatically use the settings associated with the Apple ID.
An Apple ID account can be created free of charge from the My Apple ID web page. An Apple ID is a valid email address, protected by a password set by the user of at least eight characters. Apple will send a verification email to the email address the user provided and the user is required to follow the URL included in the verification email to activate the account. It is possible to create an Apple ID without specifying a credit card.
In March 2013, Apple ID launched an optional two-step verification security feature for authentication. When enabled, a second verification step is required when using the Apple ID under certain conditions, such as a web login, or making a Store purchase from a new device. The feature uses the Find My service to send a four-digit pin code to a trusted device associated with the Apple ID when the second verification step is required for authentication.
Users can change their passwords or personal information on the My Apple ID page by selecting the "Manage your account" link. Changes that a user makes to an Apple ID account, whilst they are using one Apple product, are also recognized by other applications where the user uses the same Apple ID account (for example, the online Apple Store, iCloud, or iPhoto). Apple will send a verification email to the email address provided and the user is required to follow the URL included in the verification email to confirm the changes. After confirming the changes, users may still be asked to verify their information the next time they use their Apple ID to purchase online, such as using the iTunes Store.
Apple also allows users to change the name of an Apple ID but users must contact Apple customer service to make such a change.
An Apple ID may be disabled for security reasons if the password is entered incorrectly multiple times. The user will be warned with a message when the account has been disabled. Apple IDs and passwords can be retrieved by answering account security questions on iForgot or by resetting from a trusted device with iCloud enabled and an unlock passcode set. For security reasons, if Recovery Key or Two-Step Verification (not Two-Factor Authentication) is turned on, Apple will not reset the password for an Apple ID account. To reset the password when these security features are enabled, both the Recovery Key and at least one trusted device is required.
Another error is "Your Apple ID has been disabled" without specific disclosure of a reason. The cause of this suspension is most likely due to a violation of the Apple Media Services Terms and Conditions (i.e., due to scams and other fraudulent activities) and resetting one's password does not clear it. It has been reported as occurring on iOS devices as well as on Macs and PCs. One can request a review of an Apple ID by contacting iTunes Store support at www.apple.com/support/itunes. As of August 2021, due to the accuracy of the system, the decisions to disable Apple IDs are rarely overturned, as the likelihood that the system would incorrectly disable any given Apple ID is less than one in one trillion per year (most likely due to CSAM detection, a safety feature that Apple had proposed but was later shelved).
In both of the above cases, the user's profile will not be visible to anyone on iMessage or FaceTime, and they will not be able to sign in. The issue needs to be resolved within a set period of time (approximately 14-30 days in most cases). If too much time has passed since the Apple ID has been disabled, it will be permanently disabled and the user can no longer unlock it nor create any new Apple IDs.
Users can use different Apple IDs for their store purchases and for their iCloud storage and other uses. This includes many MobileMe users who have always had difficulties as they were forced to use more than one Apple ID, because on signing-up to the MobileMe service a new Apple ID was automatically created using the me.com email address being created at the time, meaning users could not change their previous Apple ID email address to be their me.com email address and has always remained so. Apple does not permit different accounts to be merged. However, if one account is disabled (in most cases, due to fraudulent transactions or other abusive activity or for security reasons), any other accounts associated with the primary account will also be disabled, and the user cannot create any new accounts until the affected account has been unlocked.
Apple Discussions is a user-to-user support forum where Apple experts and users get together to discuss Apple products. Any user can browse and read the discussion forum without the need of an Apple ID. However, an Apple ID gives the user the ability to participate in Apple Discussion websites such as allowing the user to ask questions about any Apple hardware or software products, to receive help, tips, and solutions from other Apple users.
iWork Publishing allowed an Apple ID user to upload and share iWork projects such as Pages, Numbers, and Keynotes. The published contents could be viewed publicly or by whoever the user invited via iWork.com. The user did not need to know whether his or her colleagues use a Mac or a PC. Since iWork was a web based service, anyone with a web browser and internet connection can use it.
On July 31, 2012, iWork.com was shut down in favor of iCloud, Apple's cloud service.
FaceTime is a video calling application for iOS 4 or later and OS X Snow Leopard or later. An Apple ID is not required to use FaceTime if one owns an iPhone (One can make calls with their iPhone number on their Mac, iPod, and iPad).
iMessage is an instant messaging application for iOS 5 or later, watchOS, and OS X Mountain Lion or later. An Apple ID is not required to use iMessage if one owns an iPhone.
Main article: Apple Store
An Apple ID is not required to place an order on the Apple Online Store. Apple lets buyers place orders on its online store without an Apple ID by using the Guest Checkout Feature. An Apple ID and the Guest Checkout Feature both allow the customer to access order info such as invoices, check the order status, and track the shipping package. However, Apple IDs allow users to customize their Apple Online Store experiences. Users can save items they are interested in purchasing; save a cart if they are almost ready to place an order; save shipping and billing addresses and payment information to speed up the checkout process; use 1-Click ordering on Apple's website and check Apple Gift Card balances.
Apple ID gives users access to buying (or downloading for free) and later free re-download of many Apple-based resources, including:
iTunes Store, App Store (for iOS apps), Mac App Store, iBooks Store, and Newsstand all make use of Apple ID. To purchase digital media such as movies and music on the iTunes Store or the App Store, an Apple ID is required. A user can use an Apple ID and password to sign into the iTunes Store or App Store to buy content or authorize items the user has purchased. The ID is the proof of ownership for the content the user has previously downloaded from Apple digital stores.
The Apple ID allows the user to re-download their purchased content for any of their devices. For iTunes on computers, an Apple ID is authorized to copy purchased content on up to five computers at a time. Apple has not confirmed exactly how many iOS devices can use the purchased content of one ID.
According to Apple support "Your Apple ID can have up to 10 devices and computers (combined) associated with it."
Main article: iCloud
iCloud allows users to store data such as music and iOS applications on remote computer servers for download to multiple devices such as iOS-based devices running iOS 5 or later, and personal computers running OS X 10.7.2 Lion or later, or Microsoft Windows (Windows Vista service pack 2 or later). iCloud replaced Apple's MobileMe service, acting as a data syncing center for email, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, notes, reminders (to-do lists), iWork documents, photos and other data. The service also allows users to wirelessly back-up their iOS devices to iCloud instead of manually doing so using iTunes.
Every Apple ID comes with 5 GB of free storage. One may purchase additional storage if they wish to.
Main article: Sign in with Apple
On June 9, 2019, Apple unveiled a single sign-on provider built around Apple ID known as "Sign In with Apple". Based on OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect, it is designed as a privacy-focused alternative to other social login services, minimizing the amount of personal information sent to a service, and allowing use of disposable email addresses forwarding to the user's Apple ID email.