How to Ditch Your Old Email Address For a Proper Apple ID Login

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Image credit: Jack Taylor/Getty

If you’re tired of being embarrassed by the old “[email protected]” email address you have to enter when you log into your Apple account, some good news: you can finally change your Apple ID username, according to Apple’s updated support documents.

Previously, it was impossible to convert an Apple ID email address without creating a brand new account. Longtime Apple users invested in the company’s iOS, iTunes, or macOS ecosystem have probably been stuck with the same Apple ID, most likely a third-party email address, for quite some time. Whether you’d like to retire that embarrassing (or compromised) email address, declare email bankruptcy, or start over with an official Apple ID, complete with inbox, with, here’s how to ditch the old email address of yore and finally go all-in.

Before You Change Your Apple ID

Don’t rush into changing your Apple ID without getting your ducks in a row. Apple suggests you log out of whatever devices you own. If you use Apple services on other non-Apple devices (like iCloud for Windows), you’ll have to sign out and re-enter your updated Apple ID username and password for those services as well. While you’ll be signed out of these devices automatically anyway, Apple’s recommended procedure explicitly mentions logging out of devices first, and will save you from the headache of dealing with potentially malicious sign in pop-ups should you be asked to enter your new credentials later on.

How to Change Your ID

Apple provides a detailed set of instructions on changing your Apple ID, but the process depends on your current Apple ID email address. If you’re using a third-party email address (like a Yahoo or Hotmail account), you have two options: change your username to another third-party email address, like your Gmail account, or start fresh with a new email address from Apple.

If you choose to create an Apple ID, you’ll be able to use an @icloud.com, @me.com, or @mac.com email address that doubles as your new username. Those already using an Apple email as their Apple ID are able to change their username as well, but only to another @icloud.com, @me.com, or @mac.com email address. (In other words, you can’t switch from an Apple email to a third-party option, but you can create a fresh Apple option from scratch.)

How to Connect Two Apple ID Accounts

The less patient Apple users among us may have long since abandoned their old third-party accounts and created an Apple ID using Apple’s own email addresses. That means you might have two Apple ID accounts. While Apple (still) won’t let you merge two accounts into one, you can use Apple’s Family Sharing feature to link your old account to your new one. Gather your old Apple ID information, follow Apple’s instructions for adding an Apple ID to your family group, and regain access to your old apps, music, and other media.

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