If someone tries to hack into your Apple account, enters your password incorrectly too many times, or gives incorrect answers to your security questions, Apple will recognize the attack and lock your Apple ID “for security reasons”.
This is good because it means an attacker could not access your Apple ID – which would allow them to access your iCloud email, iMessages and FaceTime, as well as potentially allow them to spend your money on the App Store or in iTunes.
But sometimes it’s not an attacker trying to hack your account – sometimes you lock yourself out because you forget your password, or you just got confused and entered it incorrectly a few times. If this happens, you may be able to correct it by changing your Apple password.
In this article, we explain how to unlock your Apple ID so that you can use your account and services again.
How to unlock your Apple ID
Regardless of the reason Apple is disabling your account, it is possible to sign in again. You must enter the trusted phone number associated with your Apple ID. Alternative methods include using a recovery key or an account recovery contact. (An account recovery contact must be set up in advance, but they will be able to verify your identity and help you recover if you are ever locked out – it’s a good idea to set this up for your relatives.)
You just need to follow these steps to reset your account and create a new password.
- Go to iforgot.apple.com
- Enter your Apple ID – usually the email address associated with your Apple account.
- You may be asked to confirm the phone number associated with your account.
- You will then receive notifications about Reset passwords on your devices (we got one on our Mac and iPhone). Click View on a Mac or just tap the message on iPhone.
- On Mac, go to System Preferences – click Reset.
- On iPhone, you will see “Use this phone to reset your password” – click Allow.
- If you are using an iPhone, you will need to confirm your trusted phone number (which may be the one associated with that device). Once you have done this, you will see the message that you must continue on one of your other Apple devices – as long as you have an available tap on Done. If not, tap Unable to access Apple devices and you will be prompted for a password to be used for another device.
- If you are using a Mac, you will be asked to enter your Mac password. In System Preferences on a Mac or on your iPhone, you will be asked to enter a new password.
This should work fairly smoothly if you have set up two-factor authentication. During the process, you may receive a code on a trusted device or in a text message on your phone. You must enter this verification code before you can unlock your account and change your password.
If you use the older 2-step verification, which is the only option on devices that can not upgrade from iOS 11, you will need the recovery key that was sent to you when you configured two-step verification in addition to a code sent to a trusted device. If you did not receive the recovery key (a 14-digit code that Apple would have sent when you configured it) you may be stuck a bit, though you may be able to obtain a new recovery key by going to appleid.apple. com / uk, log in with your password and trusted device, and then click Reset Key> Change Recovery Key.
If you have not set any of these security methods, you will either need to unlock your account with your password or you will need to answer some security questions. And if you have forgotten your password (or if you now feel a little cautious about whether your password is strong enough), you can change your password here.
If you do not manage to unlock your account after a few attempts, it will remain locked, but you will be able to try again the next day.
Here’s how to find out if your Apple ID has been hacked
If you’re locked out of your Apple ID, and it’s not because you got the wrong password, the first thing you hear about when you get an alert from Apple that says one of the following: “This Apple ID has been disabled by security reasons “,” You can not log in because your account has been disabled for security reasons “or” This Apple ID has been locked for security reasons “.
You can also receive an email from Apple with information on how to reset your Apple ID password. This can be sent if the hacker tries to change your password.
Alternatively, if you have set up two-factor authentication, you may see a warning on a trusted device stating that someone has logged in to your account, giving you a rough idea of where the login took place.
Note that the places that do appear sometimes do not appear to be near the place where you logged in, so do not automatically panic if you receive a message that someone logged in to your Apple ID in Peterborough if you just logged in from Suffolk . But if you have not just logged in and you see a warning like this, there may be cause for concern.
How to protect your Apple ID from hackers
To avoid becoming a target for people trying to hack into your Apple ID, make sure you do not reply to phishing emails. These are fraudulent emails pretending to be from Apple that tell you to sign in to your Apple ID.
You can usually detect a phishing email because of poor grammar and spelling. You should also check the address from which the email is sent (not just what the address looks like, but by clicking on the arrow next to the address in Mail you can see if the real address is something completely different). Never sign in to your Apple account from an email to avoid the risk of falling into a trap like this. Always go to iCloud.com.
The second way to avoid being hacked is to make sure you have a really strong password. We have an article about choosing a strong password.
And finally, if you have not already done so, set up two-factor authentication.