How to change the email address associated with your Apple ID

So, you forgot your Apple ID and password and you just want to start over from scratch. You can do so by changing the email address yo use for your Apple ID account.

You need your Apple ID to make purchases in iTunes and the App Store. It's also used for all of your iCloud content across your devices. It's important. However, thanks to Touch ID, some people rarely need to log in to use their Apple ID and password. Sometimes, People forget their Apple ID and password and feel completely out of luck with no option but to start over from scratch.

If you want to change the email address associated with your Apple ID, you can do so from a web browser. For the most part, it's simple.

Unfortunately, there are times when changing your Apple ID doesn't work right. You may be told by Apple that the email address you want to use is already an Apple ID. You may not even be able to see the option to change your email address.

We're going to walk you through the steps of changing the email address associated with your Apple ID and help troubleshoot some common problems.

Note: If you just forgot your Apple ID you can recover it without having to change your email address.

A few things to understand before you start

Your Apple ID is an email address, like [name]@gmail.com or [name]@yahoo.com, but the password is not necessarily the same. Your email password is probably something different than your Apple ID password, unless you used the same password for both accounts, which you shouldn't have (but some people do). If you just can't remember your Apple ID password, but you do remember your email password, request a password reset from Apple and you'll be good to go.

Because your Apple ID is an email address, you'll need access to that email address for the purposes of verifying the change. Make sure you know your password for the email address you want to change your Apple ID to before you make any changes.

When you create an Apple ID, Apple also creates an @iCloud email address for you. This email address is linked to that Apple ID and can't be unlinked or used as the new email address associated with your Apple ID.

Apple suggests that you sign your Apple ID out of all of your devices before changing your email address. This is so you won't be caught off guard, wondering why some part of your service doesn't work right. You will also have to manually sign out of iTunes and the App Store.

How to sign out your Apple ID on iPhone and iPad

How to change the email address associated with your Apple ID

If you want to change the email address that you use for your Apple ID, and you know your current Apple ID and password, you can change it from any web browser.

  1. Navigate to appleid.apple.com from a web browser on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC.
  2. Enter your Apple ID and Password.
  3. Click or tap the arrow to log in.
  4. Verify your identity by either answering your security questions or entering the verification code that was sent to your trusted device (depending on whether you have two-factor authentication enabled).
  5. In the Account section, click or tap Edit next to "Reachable At."

    Enter your Apple ID and password, then click on Edit next to Reachable At

  6. Click or tap Change Email Address.
  7. Enter the new email address.

    Click on Change Email Address, then enter the new email address

  8. Click or tap Continue.

    A verification code will be sent to the new email address.

  9. Open the email from Apple.

  10. Click or tap on the Verify email address link in the email.
  11. Enter the verification code at appleid.apple.com.
  12. Click or tap Verify.
  13. Click or tap Done when finished.

    Click Continue, enter your verification code, then click Done

In a perfect world, these are the only steps you'd need to change the email address associated with your Apple ID. But, problems arise. If you find yourself coming across issues trying to set a new Apple ID email address, read on.

What to do if your email address is already being used with an Apple ID

If you see a warning that the email address you are trying to change to is already being used, then it's already being used. Even if you don't remember creating an account with it, even if you didn't actually create it yourself, it's already being used. Come to terms with that fact and let's fix it.

You'll need access to three email accounts for this process.

  • The email account associated with your active Apple ID.
  • The email account associated with the Apple ID you want to change your active Apple ID to (you don't need to know any Apple ID password, but you will need to know the email password).
  • A third email account that can be used as a throw-away email (one that has not already been used as an Apple ID). You can create one before starting, or use an older email address that you don't use anymore (but know the password for).

Step one: Get the password for the Apple ID associated with the email you want to change to

In order to get rid of the Apple ID that's currently bogarting the email address you want to use, you'll have to be able to access it. You can ask Apple to reset the password for the Apple ID associated with it.

  1. Navigate to iforgot.apple.com from any web browser.
  2. Enter the email address you want to switch your active Apple account to (the one you can't currently change because it's already being used).
  3. Type in the CAPTCHA characters to prove you aren't a robot.
  4. Click or tap Continue.

    Enter the email address you want to switch to, then click Continue

  5. Select I need to reset my password.
  6. Click or tap Continue.

    Click I need to reset my password, then click continue

  7. Select Get an email.
  8. Click or tap Continue.

    Click Get Email, then click Continue

  9. Open the email you receive from Apple.
  10. Click or tap Reset now.
  11. Enter a new password.
  12. Reenter the new password.
  13. Click or tap Reset Password.

    Click Reset Password in the email, then enter the new password in the website field and click Reset Password

Now you know the password for the Apple ID that you don't remember creating and don't want to use anyway, so you can access it to make changes to it.

Step two: Change the email associated with the inactive Apple ID

Everything you did in Step 1 was so you can dis-associate that email address from the inactive Apple ID. Now that you have access to it, you can change the email address associated with it to something you don't care about. This is where you can use an old email address or a brand new one that you've just created for the sole purposes of using it for the inactive Apple ID.

Follow the steps for changing the email address associated with your Apple ID and use the Apple ID email address and password from Step 1 above. Change the email associated with that account to the throw-away email address.

Step three: Go back and change your active Apple ID email

Now that the email address you want to use for your active Apple ID is freed up, you can make the changes. Follow the steps for changing the email address associated with your Apple ID. This time, when you enter the new email address, you'll actually be able to use the one you want.

What to do if you don't see the option to change your email address

If the email address associated with your Apple ID is an @me.com, @Mac.com, or @icloud.com address, you can't change your Apple ID. You won't even be able to see the option to change the email address. There is nothing you can do about this.

The only option you have is to start over with a brand new Apple ID using your preferred email address. Unfortunately, this means losing all the content you have associated with your current Apple ID.

If you are able to log in to the Apple ID that uses an @me.com, @Mac.com, or @icloud.com email address, you might think about downloading as much content as possible onto your devices or into another cloud-based service ( like photos, contacts, iCloud Drive documents, content not purchased on iTunes, etc.), and then starting over from scratch with your preferred email account.

Be warned: If you do that, you'll lose all of your iTunes purchases, including movies, music, iBooks, and apps across all of your devices. So, make sure it's worth the loss.

See how to download Photos onto your iPhone

See how to transfer contacts, calendars, and reminders to your iPhone or iPad by logging out of iCloud

See how to create a new Apple ID on your iPhone or iPad

What to do if you entered the wrong email address when you created an Apple ID

If you accidentally used the incorrect email address to create an Apple ID (for example, you used .com instead of .net), you can fix the mistake simply by changing the email address associated with your Apple ID.

Follow the steps for changing the email address associated with your Apple ID but use the incorrect email address to sign in. Once you've changed the email address, you'll be right as rain.

Any questions?

Do you have any more questions about changing the email address associated with your Apple ID? You can post them in the comments below, or visit our iMore forums. If you're having a particular issue, our reader community can probably help you out.