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What is an Apple ID?

Carlton Boyce / 03 August 2016 ( 03 August 2017 )

The ability to synch your music, calendars, email and more is at the heart of the Apple experience – and to do all this you need an Apple ID.

A man types his Apple ID into his iPhone

I bought my first Apple Mac computer ten years ago. I made the switch after using Microsoft PCs for well over a decade and I have to admit that I absolutely hated it for the first week. But once I had learned how to navigate my way around a completely new interface, I was hooked.

I then got sucked in to buying an iPod, then an iPhone, then a Mac laptop, and then an iPad. I have been refreshing both the hardware and software ever since and am something of an Apple advocate now*. 

*How can you find out if someone you've just met owns an Apple computer? Don't worry, they'll tell you. 

Apple fans, of which there are many, will extol the virtues of a relatively simple user interface, bold, innovative design, and an intuitive element to their use that no one else yet offers.

They will all inevitably finish by telling you that “it just works”.

And they’re right. The ability to synchronise (or ‘synch’) your music, calendars, letters, photographs and email across a variety of products lies at the heart of the Apple experience - and to do all this you need an Apple ID.

What is an Apple ID?

An Apple ID is the unique identification name and password that you use to access iCloud (Apple’s online cloud storage system), FaceTime (Apple’s sophisticated version of Skype that works across all your devices), the App Store (where you buy your Apple apps), iTunes (where you buy and store your music) and iMessage. 

You’ll also need it in order to buy stuff from the Apple online store.

Essentially, if you have an Apple product then you need an Apple ID.

Do I have different Apple IDs depending on what I’m doing?

No, you just have one Apple ID, which comprises a valid email address and an alphanumeric password of at least 8 letters and numbers.

Find out about  iCloud and the cloud

Can I share my Apple ID?

Sharing your Apple ID is not a good idea as it gives the other person access to all your information and allows them to purchase items using your stored credit card details.

Of course, couples and family members often do because it’s a handy way of sharing things like photos and music, but there are other, more secure ways of doing so than sharing an ID.

Giving your iPhone away? Here's how to delete the data.

Is it secure?

Yes, Apple is at pains to reassure its customers that personal information and credit card details are secure.

Of course, the first barrier to prevent criminals getting your information is to create a strong password that isn’t easy to guess.

Apple insists that your Apple ID password is at least eight letters and numbers long, and it will prompt you to enter a secure password when you set it, giving you suggestions as to what you need to do to make it harder to crack.

You will also be asked to enter some security questions that will help you in the event that you need to reset your password because someone has guessed it or (if you’re anything like me) you’ve forgotten it...

What to do if your Apple ID is hacked

Anything else?

Oh yes. Apple also has something called ‘Two-Step Verification’ when you want to change some of your personal information and for some financial transactions, which means they verify you are who you say you are by sending a passcode to one of your registered Apple devices such as your iPhone.

Two-Step Verification is setup at the same time as you create your Apple ID. You can also set it up here: Apple ID. You then need to select ‘Two-Step Verification – Getting Started’ and follow the on-screen instructions.

Apple also has another layer of security called ‘Two-Factor Authentication’ to keep documents and photos safe. This system sends a verification code to an existing device for you to use when you first sign into your Apple account on a new device.

To set up Two-Factor Authentication press Settings; iCloud; then your Apple ID.  Then press Password & Security and enter your password. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Setup Two-Factor Authentication.

These two methods are simple and clever and make it very hard for hackers to gain access to your information.

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1] How can you find out if someone you’ve just met owns an Apple computer? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

[1] How can you find out if someone you’ve just met owns an Apple computer? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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