Multiple Apple IDs: Pros & Cons?

Here’s everything about the pros and cons of using multiple Apple IDs:

Using multiple Apple IDs can help you create separation between the accounts.

You can have one account for work and another for personal use, or you can use one for family sharing while you keep the other separate.

On the downside, Apple IDs do not share content or data, and they cannot synchronize with each other.

So if you want to learn all about what it means to use multiple Apple IDs and how it works, then this article is for you.

Let’s jump right into it!

Multiple Apple IDs: Pros & Cons? (All the Info)

What Does It Mean to Use Multiple Apple IDs?

If you have an Apple ID, you’re at least casually familiar with how the system works.

Your Apple ID is married to an email address.

That ID is essentially the master account for all of your products and services.

When you turn on a brand new iPhone, it needs your Apple ID so it can synchronize cloud services, give you access to paid services and content, manage your in-network messaging and so much more.

The Apple ID is the centerpiece for how you manage Apple services.

You can attach multiple email addresses to a single Apple ID.

When you do, they can be used for recovery or alternative forms of contact.

You can even change the email address that runs the Apple ID.

But, none of that is what I’m talking about today.

You can also create multiple Apple IDs.

An Apple ID is completely free.

As long as you can validate the email address that you use for it, you can create the Apple ID, and you can create as many as you want.

So, why would someone do this?

What are the benefits?

Also, what are the downsides?

What Are the Pros of Having Multiple Apple IDs? (3 Benefits)

Let’s start with the pros.

Plenty of people have more than one Apple ID, and there are a number of reasons to manage your Apple experience in this way.

Having multiple Apple IDs doesn’t unlock special features, tools, or content.

It’s not like that.

Instead, you can use multiple IDs to change how you manage your interactions with Apple and everything tied to the IDs.

For the most part, there are three big reasons to do this.

You might want multiple Apple IDs to manage a family plan, separate finances tied to Apple purchases, or create a clear line between work stuff and personal stuff.

#1 Family Management

Family management is a pretty big deal with Apple.

The company allows for family plans which would let you put your kids, spouse, parents or even friends on the same family plan.

When you do this, each member of the “family” has their own unique Apple ID.

But, all of the accounts are tied to a single credit card (or debit card).

So, all purchases come from the same place.

With a family plan, you can share purchases across members of the family.

You can also share locations and track each other. And, if you’re the head of the family, you can set up children’s controls and restrictions that prevent kids from making unauthorized purchases (which you can technically do with adult family members too).

The kids’ controls give you a little more oversight over how those family members use Apple services and products.

So, why would that require a separate Apple ID?

Well, you might not want the family on your own personal Apple ID.

You might not want everyone on your primary credit card.

You also might not want to do family sharing with your personal account.

The simple solution is to have two Apple IDs.

You can create one for managing the family, and you can use the other for your own personal stuff that isn’t attached to the family.

You can set up a credit card with stricter limitations for the family to control spending, and you can take advantage of family controls without subjecting your personal ID to more scrutiny or control.

#2 Finances

If you think putting the family on one card and your personal account on another card is a good idea, then there are other aspects of multiple Apple IDs and financial management to consider.

Even if you don’t have a family plan, you can split up Apple IDs according to different credit cards.

So, you could use one account for work or business purchases using the correct card for that kind of stuff.

Meanwhile, your personal account is on a different credit card.

That’s just one example. 

Regardless of why, if you want to split up finances across multiple Apple IDs, you can.

#3 Separation

That idea ties into the concept of separation.

It’s not uncommon for an employer to provide work devices.

Those might include a laptop, iPad, or iPhone.

If that’s the case, there are compelling reasons to use different Apple IDs for work and personal stuff.

I’ve already talked about money.

iCloud and messaging are the other big factors.

iCloud data will not sync across different Apple IDs.

So if you use two accounts, your personal iCloud stuff will never end up on the work account and vice versa.

It’s a nice barrier of separation that can prevent you from accidentally leaking work information or accidentally mixing personal information into work.

Messages are similar.

Especially with iMessage, two accounts can do a lot of good.

If you set your devices up in this way, then personal messages will never end up on the work phone.

That can prevent embarrassing or compromising situations that we would all rather avoid.

If you need to vent about a frustrating boss or coworker, you can do it on the personal account, and the information is a lot safer.

What Are the Cons of Having Multiple Apple Ids? (3 Downsides)

There are downsides to all of this.

While there are very good reasons to have multiple Apple IDs, managing multiple accounts can prove frustrating, difficult, or cumbersome.

These are the cons you need to consider.

#1 Content Doesn’t Share

This is really what it’s all about.

The reason we don’t all have a bunch of Different Apple IDs is that they can’t share with each other.

This applies to all purchased content.

If you buy music, movies, or apps, they don’t share across Apple IDs.

You can share some content across a family plan, but do you really want to have to go through the extra steps (and sometimes extra costs) to be in a family with yourself?

Arguably more important is what I discussed in terms of work separation.

Your iCloud data and messages won’t sync between the accounts.

So if you have more than one Apple ID, you can’t just sign into both simultaneously to access everything.

The separation is there, and Apple won’t consolidate the accounts.

So, all of your stuff is split across each of your IDs, and that’s not entirely convenient.

#2 Switching Is a Hassle

You can still ultimately access everything on every account, but in order to do that, you have to switch accounts.

I’ll walk you through doing this on a single iPhone, just so you can see what is involved.

Let’s say you downloaded music on one ID, but it’s not the one your phone is signed into right now.

You can switch.

In order to do that, you can go to the settings on your phone.

Your Apple ID is at the very top of the settings page.

You can tap on it, and that will allow you to manage your Apple ID.

If you scroll all the way to the bottom, there’s an option to “sign out.”

When you tap on “sign out,” the phone will go through a few prompts with you.

Once it’s done, you will be signed out.

From there, you can sign in with the new Apple ID.

Signing in is just a matter of typing in the new email address and password.

You sign in, and you can access the music you wanted!

But there’s a huge catch.

If you go through your messages, you might notice that they’re all missing.

The same can be true for your contacts (it depends on how much of these data are downloaded on the phone vs. stored in the cloud).

You can’t access anything that you stored in iCloud with the other account.

You also can’t use a bunch of your apps.

They’re linked to the other Apple ID, so they won’t work with this one.

If you need to access anything on the other ID, you have to go back through that process.

All of this applies to every Apple device you own.

You can see how it’s not easy (although it’s a little simpler with Mac computers).

#3 Disrupted Synchronization

The Apple ecosystem is very competitive when it comes to cross-device synchronization.

You can start a conversation on your iPhone and pick it up on your MacBook without missing a beat.

You can browse the internet across multiple devices.

You can even use your iPad as an extra screen for your Mac.

The synchronization is typically easy and seamless.

You see the problem, right?

If you have multiple Apple IDs, it can disrupt this synchronization.

Every device has to be logged into the same Apple ID at the same time for these features to work. 


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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