How to recover Apple ID accounts with Advanced Data Protection turned on | AppleInsider (2023)

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Apple's standard data-safety practices, along with its new ultra-secure protection option, come with some risk if you forget your Apple ID password. Here's what to do if that happens.

It might happen to us all at some point: you'll simply get confused about which password was for what and enter the wrong one for your Apple ID too many times, or perhaps someone else is attempting to access your Apple ID account. Suddenly you can't access Apple's myriad services, or your iCloud, and you're not sure what to do.

For most users, the solution is pretty simple:

  1. On another device, head to the website
  2. Enter your Apple ID email address.
  3. You'll be told to check your other devices for a verification code in either the form of a text message or an email.
  4. Enter the verification code on the website.
  5. You can now enter a new, unique Apple ID password, and confirm it.

Apple will then text you a message with a six-digit recovery code to your previously-verified cellular phone number. This does not need to be an iPhone or Android phone, but it must be able to receive SMS text messages.

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Depending on the preference you chose when setting up your Apple ID account, Apple may instead send an email with the code. If you accidentally chose your own Apple email account —,, or — as the recovery email, this of course won't work and you'll have to contact Apple directly for further assistance.

For those who chose a "landline" home phone or non-cellular number to receive the code when setting up their Apple ID, Apple will still (as of this writing) call and have a robot voice tell you the recovery code. Apple is one of the last big tech companies to continue offering this method, and this service could disappear in years to come — so be sure once the account is recovered to update the method by which you want to receive any future recovery codes.

Once the new password is confirmed, you'll need to sign back in on all your devices to re-enable Apple and iCloud services. As part and parcel of the iCloud service, Apple encrypts some 14 types of user data both in transit and stored, and this is now referred to as Standard Data Protection.

Some items under Standard Data Protection are fully end-to-end encrypted (E2EE), meaning Apple doesn't have the ability to decrypt those items — only authenticated users with trusted devices can do so. Health data, passwords stored in iCloud Keychain, payment information, and destinations in Apple Maps are examples of the kinds of iCloud user data Apple doesn't have access to.

A new layer: Advanced Data Protection

With the release of iOS 16.2, PadOS 16.2, and macOS Ventura 13.1, Apple has added a new option for users: an additional layer of security for material stored on iCloud called Advanced Data Protection (ADP). It further E2EE encrypts parts of the data users sync or store on iCloud, and more importantly makes the user and their trusted devices — rather than Apple — responsible for handling the decryption.

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We've already written about how to choose this option, and some of the caveats that go with that. ADP is intended as an optional feature for those who think they have data stored on or backed up to iCloud that makes them a target for surveillance or hacking.

If you do turn on ADP, your iCloud backups, along with additional categories of stored data are now end-to-end encrypted — but not everything has decryption keys that only you control. Because of the need to be universally interoperative with other systems, iCloud Mail, your Contacts, and your Calendars are not part of Advanced Data Protection.

These items are still encrypted both "in transit" through the internet as well as while "at rest" on the iCloud servers, but Apple retains those decryption keys for compatibility purposes.

Some of the key concepts behind Advanced Data Protection were introduced in 2020 with iCloud Data Recovery Service. It debuted the idea of setting up a Recovery Contact — a trusted person other than you that could help you recover your Apple ID — and also featured the option of setting up a Recovery Key that Apple doesn't have access to.

As of iOS 16.3, Apple has also now added support for third-party physical security keys, which resemble USB thumb drives to allow users to verify themselves, skipping the usual "verification code" stage. For ADP recovery, Apple requires users have two security keys — one presumably stored in a safe place — to prevent being permanently locked out in case of the keys is lost or malfunctions.

It is also worth noting that turning on ADP makes the collaboration features in many Apple apps more difficult or problematic. By default, access to through a web browser is disabled when ADP is turned on. Users can authorize a one-hour window to from a trusted device, and this temporarily makes access to the website available to that trusted device only.

Collaboration features in areas like shared Notes, iCloud Shared Photo Library, or shared Reminders won't work if you have ADP turned on unless all your collaborators also have ADP turned on, according to Apple. Shared Albums in Photos are not eligible for ADP protection, and instead use Standard Data Protection.

Likewise, collaboration features in the iWork apps like Pages, Numbers, and Keynote don't support Advanced Data Protection. When a user opens a shared document in those apps or from an iCloud shared folder, the encryption keys for that document are sent to Apple's servers in order to coordinate the document changes between participants.

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There's yet another caveat: turning on ADP means committing to keeping all of your Apple devices — iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, Macs, and Apple Watch — fully up-to-date. If you have devices that can't be upgraded to 16.2 or later, they can't be used to assist you if you get locked out.

Higher protection, but also higher risk

If you think you are now or will someday be at risk of losing/forgetting two of your most important passwords as Apple device users — your passcode and/or your Apple ID password — you may want to avoid turning on Advanced Data Protection. The biggest risk is that if you lose access to your fallback methods of verification, Apple can't help you get back in: it is possible to be permanently locked out of your account.

Of course, Apple doesn't want that to happen — but the fundamental idea behind ADP is that in exchange for this additional encryption, Apple will no longer have the ability to decrypt the protected data, even if served with a warrant. When setting ADP up, Apple can generate a unique 28-character Recovery Key that users can store, and also encourages users to designate trusted others as account recovery contacts.

However, both of these methods could fail over time — a recovery contact changes their contact information, for example, or you can't find the record of your recovery key. Trying to change your Apple ID password in the usual way described previously will not work if ADP is active.

Because of this, Apple requires that the users using ADP set up at least one alternative recovery method, and encourages users to list multiple recovery contacts. Users should also store at least one printed copy of the "recovery key" in a disaster-proof safe place, such as a bank deposit box.

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After some testing, we recommend you set up at least one recovery contact before opting to also get a recovery key. As happens throughout the process, Apple will repeatedly warn you of the importance of keeping recovery contacts up-to-date, and not losing the recovery key.

In setting up a recovery key, the generated key will be shown to you with an option to print it out, and then you'll be asked to verify the key by either pasting it in, or typing it in. Once the recovery key method is active, you can go back and also add other recovery contacts if desired.

Recovering your Apple ID under ADP

With ADP set up and active, your devices should continue to work as they always do, with users logging in using a passcode (iPhone, iPad) or password (Mac) on their trusted devices. Periodically, or when signing in to the App Store to make a purchase — even if the item is free — you will need to confirm your Apple ID password as you have in the past and it all should go as expected.

However, if you repeatedly mistype or forget your Apple ID password, the rescue operation will be considerably different than for those who don't have ADP turned on, as enumerated above. Apple has not yet detailed the complete ADP recovery procedure, but it is similar to the procedure used by the iCloud Data Recovery Service.

if you fail to unlock your Apple ID password and the account is locked, the recovery web page will ask first if you would like to recover your account by inputting the recovery key previously created. This is why Apple encourages users to print out and safely store the recovery key.

It is important, if you choose this route, to very carefully input the 28-digit key. It is not currently known how many attempts you will get to successfully input the key, but it will not be many — and could be as little as a single attempt.

Should this method fail, any recovery contacts you previously stored will be offered for you to choose from. The person previously designated will receive a text or email message from Apple with a validation code they must report to you within a short time window.

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You will then enter the relayed verification code, whereupon you will be taken to the usual Apple ID password reset page where you will create and confirm a new, strong Apple ID password. As usual, all your other devices will need to sign in again to the Apple ID using the new password.

Once that's done, the E2EE information stored on iCloud will again be accessible and decrypted on demand from your devices as before. Remember to revisit and update your recovery contacts' information periodically to ensure that Apple can reach them if they are ever needed again.


How can I recover my Apple ID without trusted device or phone number? ›

If you use security questions with your Apple ID, or if you don't have access to a trusted device or phone number, go to Then you can unlock your account with your existing password or reset your password.

How can I recover my Apple ID password without email and security questions? ›

Go to your Apple ID Account Page and then click on the “Forget Apple ID or Passcode”. Enter your locked Apple ID, select the option for resetting your password, and then hit the “Continue” option. Enter your recovery key. Choose your trusted device where you would like to receive a verification code.

How do I recover my Apple ID without the recovery key? ›

If you lost your Recovery Key
  1. Go to your Apple ID account page.
  2. Sign in with your password and trusted device.
  3. In the Security section, click Edit > Replace Lost Key.

How do I recover my Apple ID data? ›

Let's see how MobileTrans - Copy Data to Android helps you restore iCloud data to Android.
  1. Install MobileTrans - Copy Data to Android on your Android phone, you can get it on Google Play.
  2. Open the app, there will be two ways which you can choose to transfer data to your Android phone. Tap "Import from iCloud".

How do I verify my Apple ID if I can t receive my verification code? ›

Way 1. Get Apple ID Verification Code via a Phone Call or a Text
  1. Tap on the Didn't Get a Code option on the screen.
  2. Go with having the code sent to your additional trusted mobile number.
  3. Now, you'll receive a call or text message from Apple with your verification code.
Aug 30, 2022

How do I reset my Apple ID password without a trusted phone? ›

Resetting your Apple ID password without an Apple device
  1. Open the Apple Support app. ...
  2. Select Passwords & Security.
  3. Select Reset Apple ID Password.
  4. Select Get Started.
  5. Select A different Apple ID.
  6. Enter your Apple ID and follow the onscreen prompts.
  7. Once your password is reset, make sure to log out.
Dec 4, 2022

How can I access Apple ID without password or phone number? ›

One of the ways to unlock an Apple ID without a phone number is to use the two-factor authentication system. If you have this feature enabled in your account, all you need to do is access one of the trusted devices and tap on an option to unlock your account.

Can you bypass Apple ID and password? ›

If you've purchased a second-hand iOS device with the old Apple account on it but you don't know the correct password, the easiest way to bypass Apple ID is to ask the previous owner to remove the original Apple ID for you. Once the old Apple ID gets removed, you can log in using your own Apple ID.

How do I bypass Apple recovery mode? ›

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How to Get Out of iPhone Recovery Mode
  1. Unplug the device from the USB cable.
  2. Hold down the Sleep/Wake button (or Side, depending on your model) until the iPhone turns off, and then let it go. ...
  3. Keep holding until the Apple logo reappears.
  4. Let go of the button and the device will start up.
Apr 18, 2022

Can you bypass recovery key? ›

There is no way to bypass the BitLocker recovery key when you want to unlock a BitLocker encrypted drive without a password. However, you can reformat the drive to remove the encryption, which needs no password or recovery key.

How long does Apple account recovery take? ›

Account recovery is a process designed to get you back into your Apple ID account when you don't have enough information to reset your password. For security reasons, it might take several days or longer before you can use your account again.

Can deleted Apple ID be recovered? ›

If you deleted the ID, you can't recover it. From the article below. After your account is deleted, Apple can't cancel the request, reopen your account, or restore your data.

How do I recover my Apple ID and email? ›

How to change your Apple ID to a different email address
  1. Go to and sign in.
  2. In the Sign-In and Security section, choose Apple ID.
  3. Enter the email address that you want to use as your Apple ID.
  4. Choose Change Apple ID.
Nov 4, 2021

How can I get my Apple verification code without another device? ›

If you're signing in and don't have a trusted device handy that can display verification codes, you can have a code sent to your trusted phone number via text or a phone call instead. Click Didn't Get a Code on the sign in screen and choose to send a code to your trusted phone number.

How do I reset my Apple two factor authentication? ›

macOS 10.15 to 12.5: Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Apple ID, click Password & Security in the sidebar, then click Get Verification Code on the right. macOS 10.14 and earlier: Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click iCloud, click Account Details, click Security, then click Get Verification code.

What are 3 ways to reset your Apple ID password? ›

Change your Apple ID password
  1. Tap Settings > your name > Password & Security.
  2. Tap Change Password.
  3. Enter your current password or device passcode, then enter a new password and confirm the new password. Forgot your password?
  4. Tap Change or Change Password.
Dec 15, 2022

How do I reset my Apple ID password without my phone number and email? ›

Go to Apple's iForgot page and enter your Apple ID. From there, choose the Security Questions option and answer the questions. If you are correct, you should be able to reset the password.

How do I verify my Apple ID if I changed my phone number? ›

On the web
  1. Sign out of every Apple service and device that uses your Apple ID.
  2. Go to and sign in.
  3. In the Sign-In and Security section, click Apple ID.
  4. Enter the mobile phone number that you want to use as your Apple ID, then select Change Apple ID.
  5. A verification code is sent to you at that number.
Dec 16, 2021

What if I no longer have access to any of my trusted devices? ›

What if I no longer have access to any of my trusted devices? If you can't access any of your trusted devices, you can still access your account using your password and Recovery Key. You should then verify a new trusted device as soon as possible.


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