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How to link an Apple ID to a Mac account

An Apple ID isn’t essential if you use a Mac. Some Mac features require an Apple ID e.g., the Mac App Store, Find my Mac, iCloud, iMessage, Facetime, etc., but if you do not use any of these services, you can do without an Apple ID.

Most Mac users will create and use an Apple ID simply because Apple ensures their data is not tracked and is protected. The features that an Apple ID gives access to on macOS are another great reason to use it.

An Apple ID can also be used to recover the password to a Mac account. It has to be set up in advance i.e., if you’ve never linked your Apple ID to a Mac account, you won’t be able to use it to recover your password when/if you forget it. 

Link Apple ID to Mac account

Before we proceed, you should understand that an Apple ID is linked to a Mac user account, and not the system itself. For each user that is set up on a Mac, a different ID can be linked to each one. 

  1. Sign in to the Mac account you want to link an Apple ID to.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Make sure you’re signed in with an Apple ID. It should appear on the top row in System Preferences.
  4. Go to Users & Groups.
  5. Click the padlock icon at the bottom left.
  6. Enter the password to your Mac user account.
  7. Enable the “Allow user to reset password using Apple ID’ option.

Recover Mac password with Apple ID

Now that you have an Apple ID linked to your Mac account, you can use it to recover your password.

  1. On the login screen, click inside the password field. 
  2. Click the question mark button that appears next to the field.
  3. Select the ‘Reset it using Apple ID’ option.
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts and reset your Mac account’s password.


Apple doesn’t force its users to link an Apple ID to their Mac and those that have one configured in the Mac App Store, or for Find My Mac, will find that it doesn’t try to sign users in on other apps. Windows 10 works in stark contrast to this where Microsoft urges users to use a Microsoft account, the account pops up and interferes with all sorts of features on the OS, and it collects quite a bit of user data. Apple has the upper hand here.

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