This applies to those of us that have multiple Apple IDs on our iDevices.  I heard rumblings about a forthcoming policy on this a few months back but never really got to follow up until now.

Apple's policy went into effect on June 2011, its Knowledge Base Article states:

Your Apple ID can have up to 10 devices and computers (combined) associated with it. Each computer must also be authorized using the same Apple ID. Once a device or computer is associated with your Apple ID, you cannot associate that device or computer with another Apple ID for 90 days.

This is fair warning for those that use multiple Apple IDs on a device.  I can think of a few examples of a need for this:

  • People that issue iDevices within their families (for sharing between Husband/ Wives/ Children etc. etc.)
  • Non US App Store customers that set up a separate account to buy Music, Movies, and Books on the iTunes App Store.

This is fine if they only use 1 Apple ID on the iDevice.  But once you revolve to another ID for whatever reason, I am assuming that you will be LOCKED OUT for 3 Months (It does not specify on the Knowledge Base the consequence of breaching this 90 days rule).

What compounds the problem for this spectrum of multiple Apple ID users is that there is no apparent policy to merge multiple accounts.

Q: I have multiple Apple IDs. Is there a way for me to consolidate them into a single Apple ID?

A: At this time, Apple IDs cannot be consolidated.

(Source: APPLE Support FAQ)

The Knowledge base also tell you how to check and delete computers linked to your Apple ID:

You can view which devices or computers are currently associated, remove unused devices or computers, and see how long before they can be associated with a different Apple ID from the Account Information page in iTunes on your computer:

Open iTunes.

Sign in to your Apple ID by choosing Store > Sign In from the iTunes menu.

Choose Store > View My Account from the iTunes menu.

From the Account Information screen, click Manage Devices.

Next to each device or computer name, you will be able to see when each was associated to your Apple ID. You will also be able to track how many days are remaining before your associated devices or computers can be associated to a different Apple ID.

The purpose of this multiple account policy is obviously to stop abusers.  A person could easily share Apps with 10 of their friends to defray their costs.  I check my "Purchased" section and I apparently have 800 apps I have previously downloaded (Free and Paid).  It would be easy to share it with friends by letting them have my ID and download whichever programs I have already paid for.  And I am betting that there will be a fair proportion of such users and abusers.

However, what bothers me is that I now have to stop buying Apple DRM music, Movies, and Books using my US iTunes account.  Since I have had two Apple ID accounts - one for Normal App purchases (Asian Account), and another for Music, Movies, and Books (US Account) - my only choice is to drop the music account as a whole bulkload of App purchases are linked to my App Apple ID.

I am of course hoping that Apple can give some flexibility to the subset of users caught in the middle ground which are not abusers.  Maybe allowing 2 Apple IDs to be linked to a set of 10 machines won't be such a bad idea.  I don't think that is unreasonable and will also serve to curtail abusers.

Meanwhile, I am holding onto any Music and Movies purchases and possibly going the way of the Torrent with these.  For books, I will be happy to go back to using paper, for now.


The original post was published here: Multiple Apple ID Policy - Users Beware!