The Importance of an Apple ID

With all the exciting changes in iOS 5 and Mac OS Lion, an Apple ID is more important than ever. It has become very essential to your whole system, whether mobile, desktop, or a combination of the two. With all the syncing on behalf of iCloud, it’s all done with an Apple ID. It’s how your devices and Apple recognize who you are. Additionally, it’s used to identify you at Genius Bar appointments, for support on the Apple site, to publish on iWork, at the Apple Online store, etc.

Your Apple ID consists of your sign-in and a password. Previously, the sign-in could be anything, but after the addition of iCloud to the OS and iOS, it now has to be an email address. Once you begin setting up iCloud, it will instruct you to change your ID to your email. Everything then transfers over. If you don’t have one yet, and don’t own or don’t want to wait until you sign in to iCloud, one can be created on the My Apple ID web page.

Also at that website, the Apple ID can be managed. Clicking on “Manage Your Account” allows you to edit your name, edit your email, or add an email. Your password can also be changed here, as well as the security question used if you ever forget your password. If you do try the wrong password too many times, it will become locked, and the correct password can be retrieved by contacting Apple. Physical Address, Phone Numbers, Languages, and Contact Preferences can be changed here as well.

Using your Apple ID to Access your account information through iTunes on a mobile device allows you to turn on or turn off iCloud on that one device, yet if you access it through iTunes on your computer, you can remove any of the devices from your account. Apple allows you to have up to ten different devices associated with one account.

However, once a device is associated with one Apple ID, you are not allowed to switch back and forth to other Apple IDs frequently. Apple locks it up for 90 days. My daughter used to have her own iTunes account, but once iCloud was released, she and I wanted to share an account to share the songs we download. She has to wait out the ninety days, though, before the system will allow her to make that change. Additionally, Apple does not allow you to merge your older accounts, including MobileMe accounts. This means if you were downloading iTunes content under different IDs, you won’t ever be able to get it all under “one cloud,” for lack of a better term.

Despite not being able to merge your accounts, you’ll still have all that content available, you’ll just need to sign on under different IDs, just as you always have. However, you won’t be able to do it within the same 90 day period. It would also be a good practice to decide which ID will be your primary one since it will now be the primary way that Apple defines you.