Apple to let multiple Apple IDs merge, report says

Currently, users cannot merge multiple Apple IDs, but the latest report on the matter suggests the ability to combine accounts is on the way.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Steve Jobs showing off automatic downloads at the Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this year.
Steve Jobs showing off automatic downloads at the Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this year. Donald Bell/CNET

As the chorus of complaints grows over Apple's unwillingness to merge Apple IDs, it appears the company might soon change its stance on the matter.

According to MacRumors, two of its readers have contacted Apple CEO Tim Cook to see if Apple will eventually allow users to merge their Apple IDs. Those readers, MacRumors says, received word from an Apple executive relations employee, who said that the company is planning to allow for that functionality.

Apple has long denied customer calls for merging IDs. However, with the launch earlier this year of automatic downloads, complaints about that policy started to grow. The feature allows people to automatically download, to their devices, music, apps, and iBooks that had already been downloaded on other platforms, like their computer. The issue, though, is that in some cases, users had been downloading content to a device from one Apple ID, and have another Apple ID assigned to, say, their iPhones. In those cases, content cannot be synced between the devices.

According to Apple blog TUAW in a report in June, people who tried to switch their Apple IDs to download the content received an error message saying that they could not "auto-download or download past purchases with a different Apple ID for 90 days."

As MacRumors points out, the inability to merge Apple IDs has also become a problem for iCloud developer testers who want to be able to sync content between products, but are not getting everything properly synced because of their use of multiple IDs.

That said, it's tough to estimate how many people are affected by the lack of ID merging. In many cases, consumers have a single Apple ID, and thus, the quirk doesn't affect them. But the problem has apparently become enough of an issue for Apple to move forward on a fix.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.