In an earlier post (“WRITE THESE PASSWORDS DOWN!”) I discussed the importance of knowing the passwords to your Apple account (Apple ID) and your administrative account on your Mac computer. Oddly enough, the difference between the two is not intuitively obvious. Unless you already have a clear idea of which is which and really focus when you’re asked at some point to supply a password you will feel your confidence slipping away into the abyss. I know because I live at the edge of said abyss. So let’s go deep into the mystery which is the Apple ID. Take a breath and hold on.

Apple states:
An Apple ID is the personal account you use to access Apple services like the App Store, iTunes Store, iCloud, iMessage, the Apple Online Store, FaceTime, and more. It includes the email address and password you use to sign in, as well as all the contact, payment, and security details that you’ll use across Apple services. (Apple ID: Frequently Asked Questions)
  • Your Apple ID is your Apple account.
  • You should only have one account.
  • This account is accessed with a user name (the email address you provided when you set it up) along with a password.
  • Recently, two factor authentication has been added to increase security. (Security and your Apple ID)
  • Two factor authentication means that when you go to access your account you will receive a text message (iMessage on your phone or other device) or email (your choice) with a number you will need to supply to prove it’s you. Once you provide the number, the account is opened.
  • You can have ten devices (no more than five of them computers) associated with your Apple ID at one time.
  • You should not share your account with anyone else. To share iTunes & App Store purchases, photos, a calendar, and more with someone else, check out Family Sharing iCloud Photo Sharing or other sharing features.

Accessing your Apple account
Almost everything on your Mac can be accomplished a number of ways. Over time you learn all of the shortcuts and hidden menus which make the Apple experience unique. Accessing your Apple account is no different. Here are two of the ways you can reach, open and review all of the information in your account:

1. Access through System Preferences > iCloud

Open iCloud > Account Details

Click on Contact, Security, Devices or Payment


2. Manage your Apple ID online
Go ahead and access your account and see what the settings are. Make sure they are current, especially when providing alternate ways to reach you (phone and email), which devices are registered, and your credit card information.