Forgot Your Apple ID Password? This iOS 15 Trick Might Help

Apple's Account Recovery feature in iOS 15 can help you unlock your iPhone or Mac if you forget your Apple ID password.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Jason Cipriani
Shelby Brown
3 min read
An iPhone with the iOS 15 logo

Setting up an Account Recovery Contact is an important step to take to ensure you don't get locked out of your Apple account. 

Angela Lang/CNET

If you forgot your Apple ID password, don't panic. It's likely we've all forgotten a password or two at some point. Losing your Apple ID password for your iPhone, iPad or Mac (here's what to do if you lost the password to your computer) is about as frustrating as losing your car keys. Your password, like your keys, unlocks access to something important: your iCloud account, and in turn all of your Apple devices. Like Face ID and Touch ID, your password is intended to keep your information safe, but entering it incorrectly a few times can get you locked out. This means you may have to contact Apple Support for help.

Apple released iOS 15 last September and one of the features it rolled out makes getting back into your account as simple as a phone call to a family member or friend. That feature, called Account Recovery, allows you to pick a trusted contact (or contacts) who can then give you a special code to unlock your account. It's pretty cool and makes getting back into your Apple account a whole lot easier. 

As long as you have iOS 15 installed on your iPhone, you can add trusted contacts to Account Recovery.

Watch this: iOS 15 best features: How Focus mode improved my iPhone

Choose trusted Account Recovery contacts

Before you can set up Account Recovery, you'll need to have all of your Apple devices -- be it a Mac, iPad or iPhone -- running the latest version of Apple's software. In this case, that means MacOS Monterey, iPadOS 15 and iOS 15, respectively. 

Once all of your devices are on the latest software, select your recovery contacts for Account Recovery by following these steps. 

Open the Settings app and tap your name at the top of the screen. Next, select Password & Security > Account Recovery > Add Recovery Contact. A page will pop up detailing what exactly the contact can see or do with your account (Spoiler: They won't have access to your iCloud account at any time), and briefly detail what you'll need to do if you ever get locked out of your account. Tap Add Recovery Contact at the bottom of the screen to continue. Enter your Apple ID password when prompted, then follow the rest of the prompts to select your recovery contacts.

An iPhone showing the Add Recovery Contact screen

A Recovery Contact will be the key to unlocking your iCloud account or Apple ID if you forget your password. 


What to do if you get locked out of your Apple ID or iCloud account

If you happen to get locked out of your account, you'll need to call one of your Account Recovery Contacts using your iPhone. Your contact will then give you a short code they can access directly on their iPhone, which you'll then need to enter in order to unlock your account. 

Once your account is unlocked, you'll be asked to create a new password. Instead of leaving it to your memory, or picking an easy password you think you'll remember, I suggest using a password manager app. It'll create a secure password for you, save it, and even enter it when prompted.

There are a lot of great features in iOS 15, including the addition of sending FaceTime links for calls on Android and Windows. The AirPods are also getting plenty of useful tricks, along with the Apple Watch