How To Change Your AppleID Email Address

Is your AppleID tied to an email address that you no longer have access to or no longer use? If so, Apple offers step-by-step instructions on how to change your AppleID to use a new email address. Before we jump to the instructions, let’s start by reviewing some important background information and talk about some caveats. 

An AppleID account is the one account that you have with Apple. It is used to access your iCloud account. It’s also used to buy songs and movies at the iTunes Store as well as Macintosh and iPhone apps at the various app stores. In other words your iCloud login, your iTunes login and your AppleID are all the same thing.

It is important to be aware that you can actually have multiple email addresses linked to your AppleID account. I know this is getting complicated and can be confusing. This is why I’m trying to help spread the news. Here is an overview of the various email address that can be linked to your AppleID account:

  • Your primary email address is the one you use, along with your AppleID password, when signing in to any services, such as iCloud or the iTunes Store. This is also the email address to which Apple will send email receipts.
  • Additional email addresses can be added. This can make it easier for friends and colleagues to find you using FaceTime, iMessage or Find My Friends. Most people I know, don’t have any additional email addresses listed.
  • Your rescue email address gives you an alternative way to reset your AppleID password, if you can’t access your primary email account. [Note, if you have enabled two-step verification for your AppleID then you have a notification email address, not a rescue email address.]

In this article, I am talking about how to change your primary email address. If you want to do this, please be aware of the following

  1. You can’t change your AppleID email address if your AppleID email address ends with .mac, .me or .icloud.
  2. Don’t change your email address casually! It takes a lot of work to do it properly.
  3. It’s essential that you sign-out of every Apple Service on every device that uses your AppleID. If you don’t then you’ll lose access to that device. This is a big deal, don’t skip this step!

Let me elaborate on what it means to sign-out of every Apple Service on every device. It means you should go and collect your various Apple devices including your Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and AppleTV. Then go into every service and find the sign out button. These services include iCloud, FaceTime, Messages, iOS App Store, iTunes Store, Mac App Store. Apple provides a good list of all services that use your AppleID in this support article

Once you’ve signed out of all services on all devices then you’re ready to follow Apple’s instructions on how to change the email address you use as your primary AppleID. Again, don’t rush into doing this. Make sure you’ve done the necessary preparations.

While the following information isn’t directly related to this article’s primary topic, it is related. It is a very commonly asked question. If you have two or more AppleID accounts, it is not possible to combine them into one account. Apple does not permit this. The best suggestion I have is to link the two accounts together using iCloud Family Sharing, which I hope to cover in a future Tech Tip. Briefly, iCloud Family Sharing lets you link up to 6 AppleID accounts. Once linked all iTunes, iBook and App Store purchases can be shared between the accounts.

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