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How to remove an iCloud account from Mac, iPhone, and iPad


Apple’s iCloud service has become deeply embedded in the way we all use Macs and iOS devices. Whether you use all of its services, or just email and contacts, an iCloud account that functions properly is a key part of the experience of using an Apple device. However, there are a number of situations where you may need to remove an iCloud account from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

Why delete an iCloud account?

• You have been sharing an account with a family member but it’s no longer convenient.

• You used the Mac or iOS device for business and were logged into the organisation’s iCloud account and now want to use your personal account.

• You’ve created a new iCloud account because the email address you used with the original is no longer valid (in this case, you may want to delete the original account altogether. We’ll show you how to do that later) 

Before you delete an iCloud account or remove iCloud from an iPhone, iPad or Mac, there are a few things to consider. 

1. When you sign out of iCloud on any device, you’ll also be signed out of the App Store, Messages, and FaceTime. To see using those services, you’ll have to sign back into them with your Apple ID.

2. If you plan to sign out of an iCloud account on all your devices, you should back up data you use with iCloud. This includes: photos, contacts, mail, notes that are stored in iCloud, any files stored in iCloud Drive.

3. You will also lose access to other services, unless you sign in with another iCloud account. These include: Apple Pay, iCloud Keychain, Back to my Mac, Find my iPhone, Game Center, and Continuity, among others. You’ll also lose app data from third-party apps that’s stored in the iCloud account. 

How to deactivate an iCloud account on Mac 

  1. Go to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.
  2. Click on the iCloud pane.
  3. At the bottom left corner of the window, click Sign Out.
  4. In the next window, if you want to keep data from iCloud Drive, Calendar, Contacts, or Reminders on your Mac, make sure the appropriate checkbox is tucked. 
  5. Click on Keep a Copy. 
  6. If you want to keep your Safari passwords on your Mac, press Keep on this Mac.

deactivate-icloud-account

How to remove an iCloud account from iPhone or iPad

In iOS 10.3 or later

  1. Tap on the Settings app.
  2. Tap the name of the iCloud account.
  3. Scroll down and tap Sign Out. 
  4. Type in your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off.
  5. Select the data you want to keep on the device and make sure the switch next to it is in the On position.
  6. Tap Sign Out. 
  7. Tap Sign Out again to confirm.

In iOS 10.2 or earlier

  1. Tap the Settings app.
  2. Tap iCloud.
  3. Scroll down and tap Sign Out.
  4. Tap Sign Out again.
  5. Tap Delete from my iPhone. 
  6. Tap Keep or Delete for data including contacts, calendars, reminders, and Safari data. 
  7. Type in your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off.

If you plan to give away or sell a Mac or iOS device and want to keep using the iCloud account, you should reset the iPhone or iPad and perform a clean install of macOS on your Mac. Then you should log in to iCloud.com and remove the Mac or iOS device from your iCloud account.

How to remove a device from iCloud

  1. Go to iCloud.com in Safari on your Mac.
  2. Type in your Apple ID and password.
  3. If you use two-factor authentication, type in the code that’s sent to your trusted device.
  4. Click on Settings.
  5. In the My Devices section, click on the device you want to remove.
  6. In the next window, click the ‘x’ next to the device you want to remove from iCloud. 

how-remove-device-from-icloud

How to change iCloud account on iPad or iPhone

Follow the steps above to sign out of iCloud on the iPad or iPhone.

In iOS 10.3 or later: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Sign in to your iPhone.
  3. Type in the Apple ID and password for the iCloud account you want to use.

In iOS 10.2 or earlier: 

  1. Open the Settings app. 
  2. Tap iCloud.
  3. Type in the Apple ID and password for the iCloud account. 
  4. Tap Sign in.

How to delete your iCloud account 

The bad news is that you can’t actually delete an iCloud account completely. Your iCloud account is associated with your Apple ID and, short of calling Apple and demanding it, there’s no way to make your Apple ID not exist anymore.

You can, however, do the next best thing and deactivate an iCloud account so that it’s no longer used. In addition, if you’re wondering how to delete an iCloud account without a password, the answer is you can’t. And that’s a good thing — if you were able to delete an iCloud account without a password, it would be very insecure and anyone could potentially delete yours. 

The first step is to remove all your devices from your iCloud account by following the steps above, under ‘How to remove a device from iCloud’ go through each device listed, including your Apple Watch and Apple TV if you have them, in the My Devices section and remove it. Then, at the bottom of the main Settings screen on iCloud.com, click Sign Out of All Browsers. 

Next, disable Find My iPhone by going to the Settings app and tapping your Apple ID, then iCloud (or in iOS 10.2 or earlier, just iCloud). Scroll down to Find My iPhone, tap it and switch the toggle to off. Type in your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off. 

Disable Find My Mac

  1. Click on the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.
  2. Click iCloud.
  3. Scroll down to Find My Mac and uncheck the box next to it.
  4. Type in your Apple ID password and click Continue. 

disable-find-my-mac

De-authorize iTunes on your Mac

iTunes limits the number of computers that are authorized to play music in your Library. So it’s important to de-authorize a computer when you know you’re not going to use it with that account anymore. 

  1. Launch iTunes.
  2. Click Account in the menu bar.
  3. Hover over Authorizations and choose De-authorize This Computer.
  4. Type in your Apple ID password and click De-authorize to confirm. 

At this point, it’s also a good idea to get rid of unwanted iTunes files. This includes old software updates, out of date backups and broken downloads. You could do this manually, but it’s much quicker and easier to use an app like CleanMyMac 3. This tool has a section specifically for removing iTunes Junk. You can download the app for free here and give it a try. 

removing-itunes-junk

Sign out of iCloud on all your devices

Now, sign out of iCloud on your Mac and iOS devices using the steps described above. If you have an Apple TV, you’ll have to sign out of your Apple ID there as well.

As you can see, deleting an iCloud account safely involves several steps. And the more devices you have connected to it, the longer it will take. But it can be done and it’s not at all difficult.


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