Resetting an iPhone when Apple ID User Name has changed


So, I dug up an old iPhone which my daughter wants to use - mostly for show. This turns out to be a bit more problematic than planned.

Apparently, we never reset the phone when my wife stopped using it, and in the mean time she’s changed the user name of her Apple ID (so it’s still the same Apple ID but it’s username is attached to a new Email).

I can’t find any way to get this switched around so that I can confirm that it should be reset.

Any ideas? :confused:

When I worked for AppleCare, this was an issue I helped a lot of people solve, and I recall it involved temporarily changing the Apple ID back to the old email address so that you can sign out on that old phone. Then you go back and change the Apple ID back again to the current email address.

You can only do this, though, if that old email account is still active and you can access it, because obviously you’ll need to be able to receive any verification emails sent to that address.

Here’s how you would do that:

It’s kind of a pain, because before you can temporarily change that Apple ID, you have to sign out of iCloud on all devices that are using that Apple ID and then sign them all back in after you’ve changed the Apple ID back. But it’s doable. I have no idea if this is still the AppleCare-recommended way of solving this problem, though, so if you have any concerns whatsoever about doing that, contact AppleCare and ask for help.

I don’t remember how we dealt with this issue if the person didn’t have access to that old email address anymore. There was a solution, but it’s been a few years since I had that job, so I don’t recall what it was. If you don’t have access to that email account anymore, I would definitely recommend contacting AppleCare and asking them to walk you through that process.

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You’re on the right track, @tonycraine. AppleCare is probably using the same knowledge base articles as you can find yourself online. In addition to the one you mentioned, these can be helpful: which linkes to this

Good luck!

Thanks for the thorough feedback from both of you!

Since this is just to get an old phone up and running for my daughter to have to play with - I really don’t want to go around messing with my wife’s Apple ID and sign out from all her devices etc. That’s too big of a potential issue.

To be honest, I’m really surprised by how this whole Apple ID is handled by Apple for these things.

Does anyone know what would happen if I created a new Apple ID with the Email previously used? (I.e. the Email that the old phone thinks is the right Apple ID.)

Is the only unique thing the Apple ID cares about the Email/Username? Or is there an actual Email independent ID which we’re not presented with? So that it would know that it’s not the “right” Apple ID even though the Username matches?

I’d be surprised if you’d be allowed to create a new Apple ID with an address that has already been used by someone else. You could try, but it sure seems like you’re inviting something weird or complicated to happen, particularly since you know there’s at least one device in the world that still wants to use that address as its Apple ID.

As tedious as it sounds, signing everything out of the Apple ID, changing the Apple ID, resetting the old phone, changing the Apple ID back, and then and signing all the devices back in is at least a process that Apple recommends doing in your situation. Having walked a number of people through that process, I believe it would be less likely to cause complications than trying to sneak around the system by creating a new Apple ID using an address that was already used by someone else.

But that’s just me speculating. I don’t know what Apple’s systems do behind the scenes to track which email address belongs to which Apple ID, so I don’t know what, if anything, could go wrong if you tried it.

Is “Find my iPhone” enabled?

If so, you might be able to reset the iPhone “remotely”: