Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 5.59.04 AM

This is the third how-to in our new weekly series: 

One of the most common issues I hear about is forgotten Apple IDs. But this is not as simple as it sounds. Figuring out Apple ID details can involve finding out what the Apple ID username is, which Apple ID they should be using (if they have multiple), resetting security questions and answers, and resetting passwords.

Most people, if they have an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, are using their Apple ID on their mobile device. From there, if you go into the Settings App, you will be able to see your Apple ID.

Always double-check to see if you have two different Apple IDs: one for iCloud and one for iTunes and App Stores.  Under Settings, press iCloud. Make note of the email address listed in the account. To go back to the main Settings page, press the Settings arrow in the upper left hand corner. Then scroll down until you see iTunes and App Stores and press it. You now have three different possible scenarios:

Scenario 1 – The same Apple ID Same Apple IDs. This means you will only have a single ID to deal with.

Scenario 2 – Different Apple IDs Don’t worry if the Apple IDs listed in these two sections are different. Whose email addresses are they? Are they both yours, or is one a family members’ email address? If they are both yours, you might have to reset both passwords. If one of the email addresses is a non-working email you can change the email associated with the Apple ID.

If the email address under iTunes and App Store section is not yours, but a family member’s, call them up saying you forgot their password. Odds are that family member bought you the device, helped you set it up, decided to let you use their Apple ID in the store, so that way you can save money and not pay money for the same app multiple times.

If the iCloud email is not yours then you would need to safely delete the iCloud account.  If the iCloud email is yours then you only need to reset that password. If the iCloud email is your email, but a non-existing email, you will need to safely delete your iCloud account and change the account to an email address you use.

Scenario 3 – No Apple ID No Apple IDs listed under settings. This one can be tricky. Typically, an Apple ID is an email address. If you have one and only one email address then you do not have to do the following steps to figure out what your Apple ID is. However, if you have multiple email addresses and do not remember which email address you are using for your Apple ID, you will have to do the following so that you can figure out which email address you are using. First, go to Apple’s account management page.


Down in the lower right, there will be a blue link that says “Find your Apple ID.” Tap on it. Then you will fill out your first name, last name, current email address and all of your email addresses.

There will be two different outcomes: the first being that it only shows you have one email address being used as an Apple ID, and the second being that you have multiple email addresses being used as Apple IDs.

If you have more than one email address being used as an Apple ID, you will have to do the entire process multiple times, where each time you will select a different email address and reset the password.

Now that you know what your Apple ID is, one can “easily” reset the password.  Open up Safari or any web browser and go to Once you get to the website, you’ll enter in your Apple ID, which is your email address and press the next button in blue on the lower right.


You have two options as shown above. You can use email authentication, which involves Apple sending you an email containing a special unique link to reset your password, or you can choose to answer security questions. If you choose to answer security questions, this will involve answering questions only you could know, such as your birthday and a few other personal details. One would normally think this does not sound so difficult to reset your password for your Apple ID, but believe me it can be.


What if you never get the email from Apple, or something goes wrong during the process? What if it says you do not know my own birthday?  What do you do next? Some things not to do: do not go to the Apple Store and do not make an appointment at the Genius Bar in the Apple Store. They won’t be able to help you recover your password. They do not have access into account security and will tell you to call Apple Care, so save yourself the trip and do not go to the Apple Store. You do have two other options to recover your password.

Call AppleCare By calling Apple Care at 1-800-APL-CARE, you’ll first go through an automated system that will try to determine your issue before directing you to a support representative. If you don’t like dealing with automated systems, this option probably isn’t best for you.

Let AppleCare call you If you prefer to speak directly to a person without going through the automated system, you can setup a time for an AppleCare representative to call you. To get started, visit Apple’s support website.


Click on “Get started” under the section labeled “Contact Apple support,” then press “Get started” again on the next page.


When asked to select the product you are having an issue with, you can find Apple ID listed under “More Products & Services.”

From there click on the bubble next to “Forgotten Apple ID security questions” on the right hand side, then press “continue”. From here, you can choose “Talk to Apple Support Now,” “Schedule a Call,” or “Call Apple Support later.” I would highly recommend choosing one of the first two options.  This will allow you to automatically be connected to someone in the correct department who is capable of handling this issue.

Choosing “Talk to Apple Support Now” will lead to a form where you can enter your first name, last name, email address, and the phone number you’d like Apple to call. You should receive a phone call from AppleCare within two minutes of submitting your information.  You will be asked by an automated system if you are ready for the call and you will press 1 to accept it.

If you choose to schedule a call for later, you’ll need to enter the same information and you choose an available time slot. If you choose to call AppleCare on your own, you’ll need to deal with the automated system we previously mentioned. Once you have an AppleCare representative they will be able to help you out. You will just need to know your own identity and the answers to a few of your security questions.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Sarah Guarino's favorite gear