How to customize and manage Apple IDs across multiple devices – TechRepublic | Hot Mobile Press

You can use Apple IDs on multiple devices, but problems can arise if you don’t plan your strategy. Customize Apple ID operation on Macs, iPhones, and more with these tips.

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Apple IDs can be used on multiple devices, but problems can arise if the settings aren’t configured correctly. Of course, linking an Apple ID to an Apple device provides the ability to download and install previously purchased applications, access the photos and videos associated with that account, and automatically sync and back up files using iCloud.

There are several reasons you might want to associate your Apple ID with a device while restricting what components the device can access. For example, while you might want to sideload applications onto an iPad provided by your employer, you might not want that device to have access to your photos or iCloud 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 the same device.

Here’s how to use your Apple account on Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs while customizing the settings to suit your needs.

How to link an Apple ID to an Apple device

The process begins by associating your Apple device with your Apple ID, a setup step that comes standard with Apple devices. However, if you skipped this step before or if you want to change the Apple ID associated with a device, you can do so with the following steps.

On iPhones and iPads, go to Settings and then tap the Apple ID entry located at the top of the screen. If you’re using an Apple TV, you can change the Apple ID associated with the set-top box by going to Settings, then Users & Accounts. In the Apple TV Users and Accounts menu, you can choose from standard user or additional user options. On a Mac, access the Apple ID associated with the laptop or desktop by opening System Preferences (by clicking the Apple icon in the Mac menu bar) and then clicking the Apple ID section at the top of the click window.

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How to configure various Apple account components with an Apple device

Once you’ve linked an Apple ID to a device, a variety of options allow you to enable or disable various Apple account components with that device. macOS allows each of the following Apple ID items to be independently enabled or disabled, as shown in Figure A:

  • photos and videos
  • keychain passwords
  • Private Relay Services
  • Hide my email services
  • iCloud drive
  • iCloud email
  • contacts
  • calendar
  • memories
  • Remarks
  • Safari Bookmarks and Activities
  • Find information about the location of My Mac
  • news
  • Stocks
  • home
  • Siri

Figure A

Screenshot of the Apple menu.
A number of components can be allowed or blocked from working with the Apple device that is associated with an Apple ID.

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

  • Desktop and Document folders
  • automatic
  • cards
  • Messages
  • preview
  • QuickTime player
  • script editor
  • Edit text
  • garage band
  • Books
  • iMovie
  • keynote speech
  • Counting
  • pages
  • post
  • abbreviations
  • Universal Control
  • weather
  • system settings

Figure B

Screenshot of the Apple iCloud menu
Many Apple account components that can be enabled or disabled using an Apple device offer an additional set of configuration options, as shown here using iCloud.

Other uses often appear within iCloud as well. Affinity Photo, Byword, iA Writer, and Pixelmator are among the programs that allow you to customize 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 to allow access to Mail and install apps you previously bought on a new device, but you don’t want any other items — including photos, Safari… activities or your location. with this device. In such cases, you can simply uncheck the respective items—Photos, Safari, or Find My Mac—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 Photos permissions. To access these settings on an Apple TV, choose 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 more than one account associated with the device) and note the Store and iCloud options. Simply select the Store or iCloud option you wish to change and sign out of the appropriate account for that particular option. Apple TVs also allow iCloud Photos and Shared Albums to be turned on and off. Simply select the appropriate entry and select Off to disable these features from working with this device.

Apple TVs include additional settings that allow tightening the device’s access to an Apple ID. You can require an Apple TV to require your Apple ID password each time a purchase is made by going to Settings, selecting Users and Accounts, and setting Require Password to require purchases a password is always required. You can also turn off purchases in the Restrictions menu of an Apple TV’s General Settings, which can turn off iTunes Store purchases, rentals, and in-app purchases. You can also require the use of a passcode from the same Restrictions menu.


Linking your Apple ID to multiple devices helps expand the usefulness and features provided by Apple Store accounts and iCloud syncing and backup, among other options. However, it often happens that you want to remove certain functions. These steps demonstrate the many customizations that Apple developers have built into the company’s most popular hardware offerings.

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