Dealing with Multiple Apple IDs across Apple Devices

A lot of families went to turn on their iCloud with their Apple ID and found it made a big mess. iMessages showed up on each other’s phones, contacts synched to their spouses phone and all their toddler’s photos downloaded to their Photostream.

So here is the key. Every device is going to have its own iCloud ID (which really is another Apple ID), and your iTunes Store is going to be attached to the one family Apple ID. You will still be able to download any iTunes music, movies, apps, etc across all your devices. I realize this may all be a bit confusing and probably creates new questions like, “What about my Photostream”?


This does require a little planning before you jump in to do this.

1. Determine which email is going to be associated with your iTunes account. This is your iTunes Apple ID.

2. The best practice is to have an iTunes and an Apple ID and then each person should have an iCloud Apple ID for his or her own computers or devices. Keep in mind a computer (laptop or desktop) can only manage one iCloud account. So you may want to layout which devices connect via iCloud with which computer.

NOTE: You can sync more than one device to a computer manually if you just want to bring some photos in or something like that.

Now let’s get down to the steps you need to take to accomplish this. Any device you create a new iCloud ID for will need to get disconnected from the current Apple ID. To do this:

1. Go to SETTINGS on your iPhone or iPad.
2. Go to iCLOUD.
3. Scroll to the very bottom, press DELETE ACCOUNT. Before you panic, this is not going to Delete your iCloud account. It is simply going to delete the bridge that connects your device to the iCloud.
4. Choose to KEEP ITEMS ON YOUR DEVICE if asked.

After we have done this we create a new Apple ID for each person that wants to have their own separate iCloud account.

1. Go to:
3. Use an existing email address.
4. Follow all the instructions to create the ID.

NOTE: If you want to maintain a family iTunes account, you do not want to sign into iTunes using this AppleID. IF you do this any songs or videos you purchase will belong to that AppleID. If you want to buy everything separate from the family then sign in with this new ID.

Now we need to link your device to the new account you just created.

1. Go to SETTINGS on your device.
2. Choose iCLOUD.
4. Put in the Apple ID you just created for your iCloud. NOT the family iTunes Apple ID.
5. Turn on all the elements of iCloud you want to use.
6. You can turn on the Photostream, but be sure to read more information about that in the next section.

Great! Now you are set up with your own iCloud Apple ID for your device (say your iPhone).

Let’s double check that your iTunes store is still connected to the correct iTunes Apple ID.

1. Go to SETTINGS.
2. Go to iTUNES and APP STORE
3. Look at the Apple ID listed on the top. Be sure it is the one the family is using to purchase music, movies, apps etc..
4. You can even set whether you want those purchases to automatically download to your device.

Let’s also make sure the laptop/desktop you want to link iCloud with is setup as well. Now this will vary from family to family. If each person has his or her own computer to sync to just connect those iCloud accounts. If you share a single computer you will need to determine which iCloud account you want to link to.

To link an iCloud account you need to:

2. Go to iCLOUD.
3. Sign Out if you need to. Then sign in with your iCloud Apple ID.

Now all your Calendar, iMessages, Contacts etc… should sync between device and computer without interference.

NOTE: There are many great advantages to having a separate iCloud Apple ID, but one notable one is it gives your device its own 5GB of backup. If you share an Apple ID for your iCloud you will be forced to share this 5 GB with which ever device is also attached.

The last piece to this puzzle is the Photostream. First I want to make sure you clearly understand how Photostream functions. When your Photostream is on, the last 1000 images from your device go into your iCloud’s Photostream. But keep in mind it is only saving the last 1000, so the oldest images get pushed out. Now those pictures are also kept in your devices’ Camera Roll. However, if you want them kept permanently on your computer you have two options:

1. You can set up iPhoto on a laptop/desktop to receive your Photostream. But at this point iPhoto can only be attached to one Photostream account at a time. If you are a family with one laptop/desktop choose which device you want to attach to iPhoto.

2. If you do not want your device to be the main Photostream for iPhoto you can still bring those photos into your computer manually.



NOTE: There are some other options with iPhoto, Photostream and the newly added Shared Photostream. However that will be covered in an upcoming blog post.



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