Setup your Apple ID correctly by signing into all of the appropriate places with the correct email address and password.

The Apple ID is becoming more and more powerful these days with the onset of new Apple services: iCloud Drive, iCloud (in general), iMessage, etc. But at the same time, it’s becoming more confusing.

Random messages pop up asking for our password, which one do you type in? iCloud password? Apple ID password? This article is designed to make that process a little bit easier to understand.

The Apple ID Wears Lots of Hats

Here are the different services that are completely interchangeable with the Apple ID:

  • iCloud
  • FaceTime
  • iMessage
  • App Store
  • iTunes

If you are prompted for one of these passwords, keep in mind that each of these are really the same account! The key is to pay attention to which email address they are prompting you for.

“But what if I have a Gmail?” you may ask. Well, your Apple ID doesn’t necessarily have to be an Apple email address (,, or If you get a prompt that shows your email address on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, it’s always your Apple ID. If it was asking for your password for your email, it would simply say, “Enter your password for the account, Gmail.”

The Five Homes of the Apple ID

I’d like to walk through all the places your Apple ID should be signed in for correct configuration. This assumes you have your own Apple ID that you aren’t sharing with anyone (that’s a whole other topic or appointment). Just know that you can technically use a different Apple ID for each of these places. If you’re not sure which Apple ID should go where for your family, that would be a fantastic appointment.

1. iCloud

On iOS: Can be found in Settings > iCloud.

On the Mac: Go to System Preferences > iCloud.

Make sure you don’t sign in with a shared family Apple ID here, or contacts and calendars could get merged together and take hours to pull apart. iCloud is a very individual service and should be used by only one person per account.

2. iTunes & App Store

On iOS: These settings are combined in one place, Settings > iTunes and App Store.

On the Mac: These are found in the individual apps for iTunes and App Store. Open iTunes and click Sign In in the top right of the window. For App Store, click on the Menu Bar item “Account”. If you see an email address there, you’re signed in already. If not, Sign In to your account here.

Note that it’s okay to use a shared/family iTunes account here, nothing bad is going to happen if a lot of people use this Apple ID. If you have kids, you may want to consider setting up Family Sharingso that your kids can take their purchases with them when they leave the nest, all while still using your payment method. That would also be a great appointment.

3. iMessage

On iOS: Settings > Messages > Send & Receive.

On the Mac: Open the Messages app and go to the Messages preferences (in the top left of your screen click on Messages > Preferences) and go to the Account section. Sign into iMessage there. You’ll be prompted to sign in if it’s your first sign-in.

4. FaceTime

On iOS: Settings > FaceTime

On the Mac: Open the FaceTime app and sign in!

Confusing, but not impossible

Even knowing where everything is supposed to go doesn’t clear up other Apple ID issues like multiple IDs per family, forgotten passwords, or having an Apple ID with an email address that doesn’t exist anymore.

We do a lot of Apple ID appointments because it’s important to have this stuff straight! The more crucial the Apple ID becomes, the more important having the right passwords and IDs becomes.