It’s easy to forget the password to an account like Apple ID. While it’s integral to your entire Apple ecosystem, it’s likely not an account you sign into every day. Unless you use a password manager, the password for your oh-so-important Apple account might tumble out of your head after a while. If that happens, getting back into your Apple ID used to be a bit painful, but with iOS 15, that’s all changing.
Introducing: Account Recovery Contacts
With this latest iOS update, Apple is adding a feature called “Account Recovery Contacts.” This option allows you to designate one or more of your contacts to act as a recovery contact for your Apple ID account, so long as they are at least 13 years old and have an Apple device of their own. If you ever forget your password or device passcode, you can reach out to a recovery contact to help you get back in.
Your recovery contact does not have access to any of your data; rather, they only have the tools to help you recover your data and get back into your account. So don’t worry — your friends won’t have access to any of your messages, photos, contacts, or any other data tied to your Apple ID and iCloud account.
How to set up Account Recovery Contacts in iOS 15
To start, open Settings, and tap your name/account at the top of the page. Go to Password & Security > Account Recovery, and tap “Add Recovery Contact.” Here, you’ll see a pop-up with information about the feature. Tap “Add Recovery Contact,” then authenticate yourself with Face ID or Touch ID to continue.
Now, for a potentially tricky part; you’ll need to update all of the devices connected to your Apple ID in order to continue. That means all iPhones need to be running iOS 15, all iPads need to be running iPadOS 15, and all Apple Watches need to be running watchOS 8 (this likely extends to Macs running macOS Monterey as well, but, surprisingly, I don’t see my Big Sur iMac on this list).
Apple will show you a list of all out-of-date devices, and you can either update them or, if you no longer use them, remove them from your Apple ID.
Once your devices are all updated (or if they were already to begin with), enter your Apple ID and password when prompted. Now, you’ll be able to choose the contacts you want to add to your Account Recovery Contacts. Apple may present you with some default options it thinks you might prefer, but you can tap “Choose Someone Else” if you’d prefer a different contact. And you can designate multiple contacts here, if you’d like.
Once you add your contacts, you’ll have to send them a request message. You can go with the default iOS message, or you can tap “Edit Message” to personalise it. Send the message when you’re done, and wait for your contact to accept.
Unfortunately, this is about as far as you can get at this time. The link does not appear to be live, and only redirects you to Apple’s website. Since this feature is currently on track to be available upon iOS 15’s main release, we imagine Apple will enable the links by then. But you can get your Account Recovery Contacts set up now, and then ask them to tap on the links when the feature is live.