Apple logins

Published by marco on

There are many places where you can authenticate on MacOS. I think the following list is comprehensive.

  • MacOS
  • App Store
  • Messages
  • FaceTime
  • iCloud
  • iTunes

Each of these logins can actually be different, believe it or not. Most of the time, they’re not, though. Apple prefers if you just use the same account for everything.

If you, for historical reasons—purely hypothetically, understand—have more than one account, you might log in with inconsistent accounts.

Normally, it doesn’t really matter. That is, unless you log in to iTunes with user A when user B has all of the music purchases. Or, vice versa, if user B has all of the App Store purchases.

I had the following logins on my work laptop:

  • MacOS: local account
  • iCloud: marco1
  • iTunes: marco1
  • App Store: encodo
  • Messages: marco1
  • FaceTime: marco2

The FaceTime login was an “error”, left over from before I’d consolidated my accounts. I only discovered this after I’d solved the problem I had.

Since it’s a work laptop, I use “encodo” for the apps and my own account to pull in everything else on my user account.

My problem was that I was no longer able to update software installed with user “encodo” because Apple kept asking me for the password for “marco2” in addition to the password for “encodo”.

 App Store Uneditable Apple ID

At the time, I had no idea why the App Store was asking for this login. I couldn’t figure out why it needed a second login, in addition to the one with which I’d logged in to the App Store. On top of that, the username was read-only, so I couldn’t even tell the App Store to use the “encodo” user or “marco1” instead.

It was only after I’d applied the latest system update and restarted that I learned where that login had been used. On restart, two things happened:

  • MacOS asked me to log in to iCloud during setup. That’s odd. I’m already set up to automatically log in to iCloud for a couple of things. Why does it ask for the password? At any rate, I don’t have the password at this point because I don’t have access to my password manager yet. I ignored it and continued setup and initial login. Once I’d logged in, I checked System Preferences. I was logged in to iCloud, as I’d assumed. Weird.
  • MacOS then asked me to log in to FaceTime with “marco2”. Aha. The penny dropped and I began to suspect more strongly that my failed app update was related to Apple’s not having my FaceTime password stored. That is embarrassing for Apple, I think. I changed the account to “marco” and continued.

After I was back in, I returned to the App Store. This time, the update of the app went through without a hitch. Thanks, Apple. Maybe we can get logins sorted out by 2020?