How to Use Account Recovery on iOS 15

Forgot your password? Apple account recovery can help

What to Know

  • 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 can only use this feature if you set up Account Recovery before getting locked out of your account.

This article explains Apple's Account Recovery feature and how to set it up and use it. Instructions apply to iOS 15.

How to Set Up Account Recovery on iOS

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 do this before you get locked out, though.

For Account Recovery to work, all your Apple devices (e.g., iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, etc.) must be updated to the latest version of their operating systems.

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. At the top of the main Settings screen, tap your name.

  3. Tap Password & Security.

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

  5. Tap Add Recovery Contact.

  6. On the explanation screen, tap Add Recovery Contact.

    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. Tap one of your contacts to select that person as a recovery contact.

    If you are in a Family Sharing group and select a family member, they are added automatically.

  10. An email screen opens with the selected contact's email address entered in the To field. In the upper-right corner, tap Add.

    iPhone showing Account Recovery screens
  11. A screen opens with a suggested message notifying the contact you want to add as your recovery contact. If the suggested message is acceptable, tap Send.

    If you prefer to edit the message first, tap Edit Message.

  12. The next screen notifies you that the message has been sent to your contact and that the contact must accept your request before being added as your recovery contact. Tap Done.

  13. Go back to the Account Recovery screen. You should see the person you invited listed in the Recovery Assistance section. If the person has not yet responded, the entry says "Request Sent." After they accept, or if the person is part of your family group, only their name appears.

    iPhone Account Recovery request messages

How to Use Account Recovery

If you are locked out of your account, you are asked to verify some information. Then, you reach out to your recovery contact via phone or in person. At that point, do this:

  1. Instruct your recovery contact to go to Settings on their iOS device and tap their name at the top of the screen.

  2. Tell your recovery contact to tap Password & Security > Account Recovery.

  3. Instruct your recovery contact to tap your name in the Account Recovery screen and then select Get Recovery Code.

  4. Ask your recovery contact for the code. Input it into your device and then reset the password.

Requirements to Become a Recovery Contact

Anyone who serves as a recovery contact must meet the following requirements:

  • Over age 13.
  • Use a device running iOS 15, iPadOS 15, or Monterey or later.
  • Use a passcode on the device.
  • Have two-factor authentication turned on for their Apple ID.

How to Remove a Recovery Contact

You can remove Recovery Contacts after adding them.

  1. Go to Settings.

  2. Tap your name at the top of the menu.

  3. Select Password & Security > Account Recovery.

  4. In the Recovery Assistance section, tap the arrow next to the name of your recovery contact.

  5. Select Remove Contact.

    iPhone screens for deleting a recovery contact

How Can I Recover My Apple ID Without a Verification Code?

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

  • 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 email address you have on file or opt to answer security questions. Make your choice, and then follow the prompts to reset your Apple ID password.

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