How to Customize and Manage Apple IDs Across Multiple Devices


You can use Apple IDs on multiple devices, but problems can arise if you don’t plan your strategy. Customize how Apple ID works on Mac, iPhone and others using these tips.

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Apple IDs can be used on multiple devices, but if the settings are not configured correctly, problems can occur. Linking an Apple ID to an Apple device of course provides the ability to download and install previously purchased apps, access photos and videos associated with that account, and automatically sync and back up files to the iCloud help.

There are several reasons why you might want to associate your Apple ID with a device while limiting what components the device can access. While you might want to sideload apps on an iPad provided by your employer, for example, you might not want that device to have access to your iCloud photos or email. In other cases, you might need to use iCloud to automatically back up files on a Mac but not an iPhone, or you might want to view photos on an Apple TV but not allow purchases on that same device.

Here’s how to use your Apple account on Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, while customizing the settings to best suit your needs.

How to associate an Apple ID with an Apple device

The process starts with associating your Apple device with your Apple ID, a setup step included by default with Apple devices. If you have already skipped this step or want to change the Apple ID associated with a device, you can do so by following the steps below.

On iPhone and iPad, go to Settings, then tap the Apple ID entry at the top of the screen. When using an Apple TV, you can change the Apple ID associated with the set-top box by selecting Settings, then choosing Users and Accounts. In the Apple TV Users & Accounts menu, you can select the default user or additional user options. On a Mac, access the Apple ID associated with the laptop or desktop computer by opening System Preferences (by clicking the Apple icon in the Mac’s menu bar), then clicking the Apple ID section by top of the window.

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How to Set Up Various Apple Account Components with an Apple Device

Once you’ve associated an Apple ID with a device, there are a host of options to enable or disable various Apple Account components with that device. macOS allows you to independently enable or disable all of the following Apple IDs, as shown in Figure A:

  • Photos and videos
  • Keychain passwords
  • Private relay services
  • Hide my messaging services
  • iCloud Drive
  • iCloud Email
  • contacts
  • Calendars
  • Reminders
  • Remarks
  • Safari bookmarks and activity
  • Find my Mac’s location information
  • New
  • Shares
  • House
  • Siri

Figure A

Screenshot of the Apple menu.
A number of components may be allowed or blocked to work with the Apple device to which an Apple ID is associated.

Many of these individual components also allow a variety of corresponding elements to be customized. For example, for iCloud, you can enable or disable all of the following, examples of which are shown in Figure Bon an Apple device to which you have associated an Apple ID:

  • Office and document folders
  • automaton
  • Maps
  • posts
  • Insight
  • QuickTime player
  • Script editor
  • TextEdit
  • GarageBand
  • Books
  • iMovie
  • Opening speech
  • Numbers
  • pages
  • Mail
  • Shortcuts
  • Universal control
  • Time
  • System Preferences

Figure B

Apple iCloud menu screenshot
Many Apple Account components that can be turned on or off with an Apple device offer an additional set of configuration options, as shown here with iCloud.

Often, other app options appear in iCloud as well. Affinity Photo, Byword, iA Writer, and Pixelmator are some of the programs that allow you to individually configure iCloud backup and sync settings.

How do these settings come into play? Let’s say you want to link your Apple ID to a Mac or iPad so you can access Mail and install apps you’ve previously purchased on a new device, but you don’t want to link other things, including photos, Safari activity, or your location. with this device. In such cases, you can simply uncheck the corresponding boxes for the items – Photos, Safari, and Find My Mac, respectively – that you want to unlink from this device.

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How to Set Apple TV Restrictions

On an Apple TV, you can access and enable or disable several specific components associated with an Apple ID, including Apple Store, iCloud, and Photo permissions. To access these settings on an Apple TV, select Settings, then click Users and Accounts. Select the appropriate user (my Apple ID is set as the default user, although accounts may also be listed under additional users if you have multiple accounts associated with the device) and note the Store and iCloud options. Simply select the Store or iCloud option you want to change and log out of the account corresponding to the respective option. Apple TVs also allow you to turn iCloud Photos and Shared Albums on and off. Simply select the corresponding entry and choose Disabled to prevent these features from working with this device.

Apple TVs include additional settings that help enforce the device’s access to an Apple ID. You can specify that an Apple TV requires your Apple ID password each time a purchase is made by going to Settings, selecting Users & Accounts, and setting Require Password to always require a password when making purchases. purchases. You can also disable purchases from the Restrictions menu in an Apple TV’s General Settings, where iTunes Store purchases and rentals can be disabled, as can in-app purchases. You can also require the use of a password from the same Restrictions menu.


Linking your Apple ID to multiple devices extends the usefulness and capabilities provided by Apple Store accounts and iCloud syncing and backup, among other options. But, there are often times when you want to remove specific features. These steps illustrate the many customizations that Apple developers have included in the company’s most popular hardware offerings.


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