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How to create an Apple ID: Setting up an Apple account for yourself and others

Got a new iPhone or iPad and want to know how to set up an Apple ID? What does an Apple ID actually allow you to do, and is it really needed? And how do you set up an Apple ID for your kids or other family members? Here’s our complete guide to creating your own Apple account and getting started with your iOS device.

If you've just unwrapped your shiny new iPhone or iPad, one of the first things you'll be asked to do is sign up for an Apple ID. This is well worth doing, as a lot of your iOS device's best features can't be accessed without an Apple ID login.

Here's everything you need to know about your Apple ID, including how to get signed up and how to create an Apple ID for someone else, like your kids or significant other.

How do I sign up for an Apple account?

You’re prompted to sign up and create an Apple ID when you first boot up your new iPhone or iPad, but if you bypassed this step, don’t worry.

  1. On the home screen of your iOS device tap Settings and then iTunes & App Stores.
  2. Then tap “Create your Apple ID”. If an ID is already signed into the device you are using you’ll have to go to the Apple ID website to create an Apple ID.
  3. Choose the country that you’re living in and that matches the billing address for the payment method you want to use.
  4. Read the very dull terms & conditions, the privacy policy and hit agree.
  5. Here you’ll need to enter your email address (which will then become your Apple ID), a strong password, your full name and your birthday. You’ll also have to set some security questions, to help prevent would-be hackers from stealing your account.
  6. Enter your billing information. You won’t be charged for anything until you purchase something.
  7. If you don’t want to associate a credit or debit card with your Apple ID, click “None” as the payment method.
  8. Check your email! You should have received a verification email from Apple. If you have, click the link in the email to verify your email address.

Whenever you update or purchase a new Apple device, you’ll need to sign in with your account details but you should see a ‘Sign In’ option. Simply enter the email address you used when signing up for the Apple ID, and your password. Your Apple account will then be active on your iPhone or iPad.

Do I need an Apple ID?

An Apple ID opens up all of Apple’s services, some of which are essential to get the most from your iPhone or iPad.

For instance, without an Apple ID you won’t be able to download any new apps from the App Store, not to mention music, video and other bits. You also won’t be able to use Apple’s ‘Find my iPhone’ feature, which can locate your missing handset on a map.

So if you want to get the most from your iOS device, we definitely recommend signing up for an Apple ID.

Does it cost anything to sign up for an Apple ID?

Nope, not a penny/cent. You’ll only need to fork out cash for any apps, movies, albums, books and other stuff that you buy directly from Apple, using iTunes and the App Store.

Do I need a Credit Card to register my Apple ID?

You can create an Apple ID without using a credit or debit card but you obviously won’t be able to use services like Apple Pay and you’ll have to use iTunes pre-paid cards buy apps, music, movies or games.

All you have to do is pick “None” as the payment method when you are setting up your Apple account. If you have already set up your account, you can remove your payment method anytime you like unless you have an unpaid balance or a payment due. If you have subscribed to an Apple service you’ll also have to cancel the automatic renewal before removing the payment method. See below for how to cancel an Apple subscription.

How do I cancel an Apple subscription, like Apple Music?

Here’s how you can cancel your Apple subscriptions, to avoid automatically renewals and unwanted bills.

  1. Tap into “Settings”.
  2. Tap “iTunes & App Store”.
  3. Tap the Apple ID information right at the top.
  4. When the prompt appears on screen tap the “View Apple ID” text.
  5. You may need to enter your password at this point.
  6. Under “Subscriptions” tap the “manage” text.
  7. If you don’t see anything here but you’re still being charged for a service, you’ll have to contact the service provider directly.
  8. Tap the text for the subscription you want to manage.

You should see a slider for “Automatic Renewal”. Tap the slider to turn it off and your subscription will end after the next payment that’s due.

How to create an Apple ID via iTunes on your computer

If you haven’t got an iOS device, but you still want to use iTunes you can create an Apple ID via your PC or Mac. You can do this via the Apple ID website or through iTunes itself. Just follow the simple steps below to create an Apple ID through iTunes.

If you don’t have iTunes you’ll need to download and install it. You can download iTunes here.

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Click the “Sign in” text and click “Create Apple ID”.
  3. Fill out the form with your details. Make sure you add a “rescue email address” as this can be very useful! Click continue.
  4. Enter your billing information or click none if you do not want to associate a credit or debit card with your account.
  5. Check your email inbox for the verification email from Apple. Once you receive it, click the verification link.

How old do you have to be to create an Apple ID?

You need to be aged 13 and over to have your own Apple ID. But it is possible to create an Apple ID for a child younger than that and then add them into your family group using Family Sharing.

How do you create an Apple ID for a child?

You can create an Apple ID for your child and then add your child to your family group. Once you’ve added your child to your family group they can use their Apple ID on any Apple device. Any mishaps around passwords are easily solved. Your email address is the rescue email address and if you set up security questions you can use it to reset your child’s password. Here is how you can create an Apple ID for your child using an iOS device.

  1. Tap into “Settings” then “iCloud”. Then tap “Create an Apple ID for a child”.
  2. Enter your child’s birthday.
  3. Review the privacy information and agree.
  4. Enter a payment method. Although it may be an idea to put “none” to stop any potential billing mishaps!
  5. Enter your child’s name, then create the Apple ID.
  6. Follow the instructions to set the password up and choose security questions.

What is two-factor authentication and do I need it?

Two-factor authentication provides extra security for your Apple account. Lots of online services such as Google Mail and Microsoft Outlook use two-factor authentication, to prevent unauthorised persons from gaining access to your accounts and private data.

When you switch on two-factor authentication, your account can only be accessed with the use of pre-approved “trusted devices”. So when you try to sign into your Apple account with a new device, you will need more than just your standard password. You will also have to enter a new six digit code that’s sent to a trusted device of your choosing. 

For example, say that you already own an iPhone but you buy a new iPad. When you try to sign into the new iPad with your Apple ID and password, a special verification code will be sent to your existing iPhone to prove that it's really you who's signing in. You’ll then be asked to input the verification code on the iPad to complete registration. In this way, someone who knows your password still can't use your account on their own device.

You can turn on two factor authentication for your Apple account from an iOS device by following the steps below.

  1. Tap “Settings” then “iCloud” and then tap your Apple ID.
  2. Tap “Password & Security”.
  3. Then tap “Two-Step Verification”.

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