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All users must have their own Apple ID, which is not only associated with an iCloud account, Messages, FaceTime, App Store, iTunes, iBooks and Passbook with ApplePay, but new versions of Mac OS X can also use an Apple ID to log in to a Mac user account as well. Since every Mac user must have their own unique Apple ID for their own devices, it may sometimes be necessary to change an Apple ID associated with an iOS device or, in this case, a Mac with MacOS X.
Remember that Macs support multiple user accounts with Mac OS X, and accordingly multiple Apple IDs can be used on a single computer with those different user accounts. For example, your personal Mac user account can use one Apple ID associated with your iCloud and iOS devices, while your spouse user account can use an entirely different Apple ID associated with their iPhone. In fact, it is a very good idea to keep Apple IDs and user accounts separate, not just for privacy purposes, but so that you don’t have overlapping messages, FaceTime, Contacts, etc., but also so that you can have it much easier to keep and restore of backups for your individual Apple devices. The ability to segregate user accounts in this way is one of the major differences between how Apple IDs can function on a Mac in MacOS versus iOS, where on the mobile side, only one ID can be used as there is no distinction between user accounts on an iPhone or iPad. Take advantage of this capability in Mac OS X, it is very convenient.
Changing an Apple ID in Mac OS X
To change the Apple ID / iCloud account * associated with a specific Mac user account, you must be signed in to the user account you want to change. If you change the corresponding Apple ID, you will need to sign out of the existing Apple account and then sign in to the new one. This isn’t difficult, but if you’re looking for something labeled ‘Apple ID’ you won’t find it, it’s under ‘iCloud’:
- Open the Apple menu and go to “System Preferences”
- Choose “Apple ID” or “iCloud” (depending on MacOS version)
- Click on ‘Sign out’ button to sign out of the existing Apple ID on that user account – note the message that signing out of that Apple ID may affect iCloud Drive documents and data, if you don’t want to, don’t sign out and use instead from it another user account in Mac OS X
- When iCloud is done signing out of the Apple ID, the iCloud preference pane turns into a simple sign in screen
- Sign in to the other Apple ID you want to switch to on the active Mac user account
For a new Mac user account that does not already have an Apple ID, the option to create one is included in the System Preferences for iCloud pane. You can also choose to create one on an iPhone or iPad, or from the Apple “My Apple ID” website here.
Keep in mind that changing iCloud and Apple ID will affect your iTunes, App Store, Messages, FaceTime, Contacts, Calendar, and more.
If you want to use a different Apple ID for a friend, family member, roommate, talented house cat, or other person, you better create a new user account in Mac OS X and log into that other user account to specifically log in to the other Apple ID . That way, you don’t have to change an Apple ID and all its aspects such as your iCloud data, Contacts, App Store data, cloud documents, and anything else related to it.
Of course, there are other reasons why you need to change Apple IDs on a Mac, such as accessing content outside of your region, such as in a foreign iTunes or App Store.
Ideally, each person will have their own unique Apple ID and only one iCloud account / Apple ID (they are the same, although having a separate iCloud account and Apple ID is a technical possibility it really isn’t recommended as it can cause various hurdles and problems.). Unless you have compelling reason to deviate from that recommendation, try to use the same Apple ID on all of your personal Mac user accounts and iOS devices. All other users of your Mac should have their own unique user account, and they can use their own separate and unique Apple ID for their own Mac OS X user login and associated iOS devices.
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