How to Use Account Recovery on iOS 15

Forgot your password? Apple account recovery can help

What to Know

  • If you're locked out of your Apple ID, use your iPhone to call your Recovery Contact and enter the shortcode they give you on your iPhone.
  • Then unlock your account and pick a new password.
  • You must set up Account Recovery (available in iOS 15 and up) before you get locked out of your account to use the feature.

If you're locked out of your Apple ID account, you can unlock it without resetting your account—if you set up Account Recovery, that is. This article explains Apple's Account Recovery feature and how to set it up and use it when you're locked out.

How Do I Recover My iOS Account?

If you get locked out of your iOS account (aka your Apple ID), you can get back in if you have set up Account Recovery. You need to have done this before you get locked out, though.

For Account Recovery to work, all of your Apple devices—iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, etc.—need to be updated to the latest version of their operating systems. This is presumably a security feature.

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap your name at the top of the main Settings screen.

  3. Tap Password & Security.

    iPhone with Settings, Account ID name, and Password & Security highlighted
  4. Tap Account Recovery.

  5. Tap Add Recovery Contact.

  6. Tap Add Recovery Contact on the explanation screen.

    iPhone Privacy & Security settings with Account Recovery, Add Recovery Contact, and Add Recovery Contact (again) highlighted
  7. Authenticate using Face ID, Touch ID, or your device passcode.

  8. Enter your Apple ID password.

  9. Browse your contacts to select one or more Recovery Contacts.

  10. Follow the rest of the onscreen prompts to complete setup.

  11. If you're locked out of your Apple ID, call one of your Recovery Contacts as explained in the next section.

The full iOS 15 Account Recovery feature has not been made available by Apple (probably because iOS 15 is in beta). Because of that, we can't provide full instructions with our usual level of detail. As soon as Apple releases iOS 15 officially, we'll update this article with all the steps.

How Do You Get a Recovery Key for Apple ID?

Once you've got Account Recovery set up on your Apple ID, getting back into a locked-out account is as simple as entering a code. To get an unlock code, call one of your Recovery Contacts from your iPhone. They'll be able to generate a shortcode and tell it to you. Once you enter it on your iPhone, you'll need to set a new password for your Apple ID.

The code you use with Account Recovery is not the same as a Recovery Key used for two-factor authentication on your Apple ID. Confusing! Don't set up both Account Recovery and a Recovery Key. Having a Recovery Key will block the use of Account Recovery.

How Can I Recover My Apple ID Without Verification Code?

If you didn't set up Account Recovery and find yourself locked out of your Apple ID, you've got options. They're not as nice or quick as with Account Recovery, but they'll get the job done. Learn how to reset your Apple ID password.

How Do You Cancel Account Recovery Apple ID?

As mentioned earlier, Account Recovery won't be fully available until iOS 15 is. When that time comes, you'll be able to remove Recovery Contacts after adding them. Presumably you'll go to Settings > [your name] > Password & Security > Recovery Contacts > delete the contacts. We'll update this article with step-by-step instructions when the feature is fully released.

FAQ
  • What do I do if I forgot my Apple ID?

    If you forgot your Apple ID, try looking through your emails for messages from Apple that reference your Apple ID. You can also check to see if you're already signed in to a device with your Apple ID. On an iPhone, go to Settings > Your Name to check. Alternatively, go to the Apple ID lookup page and follow the prompts to find your Apple ID.

  • What do I do if I forgot my Apple ID password?

    If you forgot your Apple ID password, you can reset it. Go to Apple's I Forgot website and enter your Apple ID. You can choose to use the recovery e-mail address you have on file or opt to answer security questions. Make your choice, then follow the prompts to reset your Apple ID password.

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