Merging or reconciling Apple IDs - advice?

[I think this is the right place to ask. I posed this on Apple Discussions then occurred to me it might get better answers here].

I have had an iCloud Apple ID and a Store Apple ID for almost a decade. Lots of reasons for that including side-effects of the .mac and migrations, old system constraints, etc.

In theory the iPhone still supports different Store ID and iCloud ID. In practice this is becoming untenable. I run into bugs with iBooks (purchase vs. sync) now and I suspect this will all get worse fast. (2FA, sharing iCloud data plan vs family sharing media, sending money via iMessage, etc).

For years I hoped Apple would provide a fix - a way to merge these Apple IDs. About 2-4 years ago Tim Cook was quoted as saying a fix was coming. I now think a fix is not coming.

I’m looking into reconciling these IDs. I will need to keep the ID associated with my thousands of dollars of Apple product purchases (too bad I can’t shift those virtual purchases – weirdly there used to be an unofficial way to move hardware purchases between Apple IDs). That means I will need to switch my iCloud Apple ID to my Store Apple ID. I’ve read some articles on doing this and I’m building up a list of expected issues. I’ll have to reconstitute our Family Sharing Group for example, repurchase our shared Apple Storage plan on the Store Apple ID, migrate data, delete backups, change Wallet settings, etc. I expect to encounter significant problems.

Anyone have any tips to pass one?

Update: This 2016 article is the best resource I found … mostly things I would have thought of though …


@ldweeks , didn’t you just have to do this recently?

I don’t have a solution, but I am very interested in what you find out as I am in the exact same situation (Store Apple ID is most of everything purchased –Apps, music, books, etc., but Mobile Me ID has a significant amount of my data).

I keep hoping there is a sudden announcement from Apple that they have created a merging tool, but at this point, you are probably right to act on your own.

Add you “Cloud” AppleID to your “Store” family.

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Hmm, not quite sure how to do that. Tried to add “Family Member”, and was told “cannot send invitation to your own account”. Maybe there’s a slight variation to this same angle though.

My impression is that the fundamental problem is legal, not technical, and that Apple is not particularly interested in getting it resolved. That is—the terms of sale for music and videos make them non-transferable, and merging Apple IDs would be a way to transfer your purchases to someone else.

For example, I believe you are not permitted to transfer your media purchases to someone else in your will. But if you could consolidate Apple IDs, then after death your heir could just consolidate your Apple ID into theirs and become the owner of the media you had purchased.

So unless/until Apple negotiates deals that allow the sale of transferable licenses, and that make existing purchases retroactively transferable, I don’t think you’re going to see any facility for merging Apple IDs.



That sounds like a good tip – I’d heard it before but forgot about it. I haven’t done it because a family group limit used to be 5 (I think) and we have 5 family members. I think it just went to 6.

If I add my iCloud Apple ID as a child to my Store Apple ID I’ll have to dissolve and reconstitute our family group. I think I’ll have to add shared iCloud Storage on the Store Apple ID and remove it from the iCloud Apple ID. I’m not sure how subscriptions and in App Purchases will behave, they are not part of Family Sharing.

Conversely, I wonder what happens if I add my Store Apple ID as a child to be iCloud Apple ID?

Excellent point Dave. They’d also have to deal with in-app purchases and subscriptions - currently not family shareable (and probably never, which incidentally makes in-app purchases even more expensive).

They could build tools to migrate content from my iCloud Apple ID to my store Apple ID. Photostreams are an interesting problem.

This is really quite ugly.

Note that that article is really from 2013, so I’d be a little hesitant to assume it will still work in the same way. Make sure you have everything backed up six ways from Sunday before starting, to the extent possible.

I sort of did this a while back, but I didn’t have to deal with purchases. For me, it was mostly moving calendars and contacts from one Apple ID to another, since I’d kept all purchases using but had my iTools/MobileMe/iCloud data with due to Apple giving me a lot more storage there initially. And, honestly, I still haven’t completely cleaned all vestiges of the adamengst account out from every Mac.

Not exactly, no. My Apple ID was associated with an old email address, and I wanted to update it to use my current email address. I couldn’t because I had already created an Apple ID with my current email address.

I hadn’t really used that new Apple ID for anything, so I simply deleted it. I still couldn’t use my current email address right away, but it eventually let me swap out the old email address for my current one after a few months.

Many, (most?), email services allow plus addressing ( which allows you too create a “new” address any time you want.

@seth I think @kreme was suggesting you move all your iCloud data to you Apple ID with purchases attached. I recently tried what you did–sending your other address an invite–and got the same result. I think the only way to accomplish that is to log in to an iOS device with the AppleID you want to add (the “store” ID in my case).

If that won’t work, you can try this “mess” that a I have. This might help @jfaughnan too. I believe I got this setup from Apple Support some years ago when FS was introduced.

My current setup is this: I have a family group that contains my wife and my AppleID-1, which is for iCloud and everything but Store. I have AppleID-2 logged into store. I also have my AppleID-2 listed under Settings-iCloud-Family Sharing-MyName-Purchases And Music. This means that all family members have access to the purchases on AppleID-2 and all future purchases get billed to that account. Stuff I buy keeps getting attached to that ID.

This work well for me with two exceptions. (1) I occasionally have problems with iBooks sync using the Store ID when i first set up a device, but usually I get an alert asking if i want to sync with “this account” which ends up being my AppleID-1 (I think–anyway, it works). (2) Its challenging to use 2FA codes with his Store-use ID because I have no device that receives push notifications for that ID. Fortunately you can click “didn’t get code” and get an SMS.

The only purchase not on AppleID-2 is my iCloud Storage. I log into my AppleID-1 on my Mac in App Store, and load the card there. Then I log out and back into AppleID-2. All this is more complicated than I’d like, but it all works and once configured it works without intervention. Even setting this up an new device in iOS 12 is easier than it used to be several years ago.

[sorry this is so long. the situation is a little complicated]

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Hi @Seth I have the exact same issue, iBooks syncs using my iCloud ID but purchases became an issue, too much logging in and out.

Like @j.dagle I have used Family Sharing to establish my iCloud ID as my NewiTunes ID and I have added my OldiTunes ID as a family member.

It permitted a family Apple Music account and my family can access all of the purchases done to date. Certain things don’t share, some in-app purchases for example.

There are certain things which linger on and i have to monitor.

  • where Apple Store credit goes, I have two iTunes accounts to keep topped up.
  • the allocation of iCloud storage, my family shares the 2Tb between them, that has to be my iCloud address’s account so that is topped up.
  • certain devices like AppleTVs… I just kept the OldiTunes ID as the volume of material purchased was too much to walk away from and I was uncertain if that would still be accessible. Did consider having two different AppleTVs at one point and it may come to that.
  • phones, iPads, Macs… so many and I am not certain that all have been properly allocated to the new family members iCloud accounts. So far no issues reported from them.
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Incidentally @tommy, how did you invite the “store” account into into the family? Did you have that ID logged into iCloud on an i-device?

My Store ID isn’t actually part of my family group, but because I use it at the “purchase ID” inside my Fam Sharing settings, all my prior purchase are indeed available to both of us. And I keep purchasing things on that ID. Would never have imagined this was possible w/o Apple Support advising me this way.

A little lost in the mists of time but I vaguely recall that the ‘Store’ account was not logged into iCloud, but simply received an invitation, probably a popup on the iPhone or iCloud which I was logged into the App Store.

Curious that your Store ID is not part of your group, there are two of me in mine, the iCloud and the older Store ID. I have my iCloud ID as the ‘Family Organizer’ as the principal purchaser. Didn’t know you could designate another one, if I can, that would suit me. How do you handle iCloud storage sharing?

I suspect they’ve more deeply integrated these invitations with iCloud over time…

I’m not presently sharing my storage, but I have no reason to think it wouldn’t work. iCloud storage sharing, like all other sharing, seems tone tied to the Family Organizer AppleID. However, purchases can be billed on another Apple ID (set up under Family Sharing -> Organizer -> Purchases and Music. This ID can be different from the Family Organizer, and apparently doesn’t even have to be in the Family.

So in my case, Storage isn’t connected to my “purchase ID” but the one that syncs all my data and is the family organizer that owns the iCloud storage. Currently my iCloud Storage is being charged charged against a gift card balance on my “primary” Apple ID. Worst case it will be charged against the CC you have on file for your “primary” Apple ID. It looks like only “Store” content is linked to the “purchase” ID.

I’ve set up a friends’ family with the Organizer Apple ID also as the Purchase ID and Store ID. That’s no doubt the preferred way. I found my approach to address the problem that my wife and I shared one ID for purchases, and before all the iCloud stuff came about. We both have a lot of content bought through that one ID. That method was the “poor-man’s Family Sharing”. Before there WAS Family Sharing.