Apple ID and iCloud Tips

We'll primarily be explaining how to use Apple ID and iCloud with iOS in this tips page.

(This information was developed for the major iOS 5 release which changed iOS significantly. The information should be a good starting point for newer iOS versions, though some details may differ).

Apple iPads, iPods, and iPhones all use an operating system called iOS. iOS5 was the first iOS to support Apple's iCloud, removing the need to sync devices via USB cables to a computer. You may still benefit from syncing via USB to a computer, but iOS5 and iCould provide tools so you don't have to.  We'll refer to your iOS5 Device as an iPad for ease of using these tips, but it could be an iPhone, iPod, or future iOS5 device.

Apple ID

iOS5 uses an Apple ID in many locations. If you are the only user of all your iOS devices, a single Apple ID will serve all your needs and perform the way iOS was intended to work. If you are trying to manage a device or multiple devices for personal, work, family use, you will want to know the following about Applie IDs, how they work, and were to use them.

Primary Apple ID

The first Apple ID you'll be asked to enter on an iOS5 device is the iClould Apple ID. We'll call this the PRIMARY Apple ID. This ID is used for the iCloud functions of your iPad.

  • Sync my iPad to iCloud (mac mail, contacts, calendars, Documents and Data, etc.)
  • Find my iPad
  • Backup my iPad (application data, etc.)

The Primary Apple ID is use to sync this data across all your iOS5 devices that use this ID. Each device is also backed up to this ID for future restore should you need to reset your device.

Secondary Apple IDs

Here is where things get a bit tricky and confusing. You can CHANGE, or use DIFFERENT Apple IDs for iTunes Store, iMessage, FaceTime, iTunes home sharing, and Game Center.

Single users find it easiest to use one single Apple ID for all the services, and information will be shared with all your devices, keeping things simple.

Families, or Work/Personal user can use one main Apple ID for iCloud (backup, sync, documents) and a different one for iTunes Store, FaceTime, etc. This keeps the documents (work related) in the work account and the music, applications, and other stuff in the personal account for sharing with family or keeping for future personal use on personal devices.

Example of setting a Secondary Apple ID for iTunes

 If you are managing the device as a work device, you may want to use the iTunes Apple ID that you use for work appliction purchases.

  1. Go to Settings, then Store
  2. Touch Apple ID to change the Apple ID being used at the moment on this device.

Note that you can switch this Apple ID back and forth as needed. Switching can get confusing so try to stick with a single Apple ID and only enter other Apple ID passwords if you are updating applications purchased using a different Apple ID.

Example of setting a Secondary Apple ID for iMessage

SImilary to how you can switch to a different Apple ID for iTunes purchase, you can also use a secondary Apple ID for iMessage.

  1. Go to Settings, then Messages
  2. If not logged in: enter the Apple ID you wish to use for messaging
  3. If logged in already and you want to change the Apple ID
    • Touch Receive At
    • Touch Apple ID:
    • Sign Out, then sign back in using you're prefered Apple ID

Note on Secondary Apple ID for Find my iPad

If you setup an iCloud account in mail that is not your Primary Apple ID, you can choose to use it for Find my iPad (found as a setup option only under iCoud accounts in mail).  Only ONE iCould account may be used for Find my iPad - the setup will warn you about this being "switched", not added.

More Information

Here are some of the best sites explaining Apple IDs and iCoud setups for family and dual use systems: