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Removing your iCloud account and Apple ID from a computer

Apple uses a unique Apple ID for each user across the ecosystem to identify you for syncing, shopping and more. What happens when you sell or donate a Mac and think you have cleared all traces of your identity, but the Mac keeps asking the new user or owner for your Apple account email and password?

If this is happening, it is likely that you or the new owner of the device have not cleaned the machine completely. Before disposing of your device, it is recommended that you clean the product and then pass it on to someone else.

Then, you can use a Time Machine or a clone of the unit to restore purchases to which you are transferring licenses along with the equipment, free software for use without a license or that does not require transfer and documents, photos, and other files that you are including.

Erase and reinstall macOS

The short way to erase and reinstall macOS is as follows:

  1. If you have not yet used the Migration Assistant or another method to copy all your files to a new machine, do a full backup of your Mac. You can also do a backup if you want to restore some elements on the Mac to a new user in your family or a new owner.
  2. Follow Apple's instructions for erasing the boot drive.
  3. Follow Apple's steps to install macOS.
  4. Restore all necessary files using the Migration Wizard.

At no point in this process, you must enter your Apple ID. If you are prompted during the installation of macOS, do not proceed with the procedure. Follow these steps in the previous column to ignore this requirement. In Step 3 above, you can also avoid a download that may ask for your Apple ID by creating a bootable Catalina installation unit.

Create a new user and delete the old one

If it is impractical to delete and reinstall macOS, it is usually the next step to create a new user account and delete the old ones. This usually cuts off all Apple ID connections. Backup the system as mentioned above – ever backup before deleting things, I beg you – and then:

  1. Open the Users and Groups preferences panel.
  2. Click on the lock in the lower left corner and enter the password. The account must be set up to administer the Mac.
  3. Click on the ?+? button to create a new account with a name and password for the new user.
  4. Make sure to check Allow the user to administer this computer so that the new owner has all the necessary authorizations.
  5. click in Login options and check the box Show quick switch menu as a pop-up menu to test the login on the new user in a later step, without leaving the account.
  6. If you are using FileVault, you should also switch to the Security and Privacy preference panel and click FileVault, click the padlock cone and authenticate as in step 2, then click Enable Users to add the new user. Otherwise, you will not be able to complete these steps, as no user will be able to start the Mac.
  7. Choose the newly created user from the menu on the system menu bar. Enter your password to login.
  8. After ensuring that the new account is set up correctly, return your previous user account via the quick exchange menu and choose> Sign out (account name).
  9. Return a new account, open the Users and groups preferences panel and authenticate with the new user account, as in step 2.
  10. Select your old user account and click on the ?-? sign and follow the instructions to remove the account. If you made a backup, you do not need to archive the account, but you can delete it.
  11. Restart and log in to the new account. Make sure the system requests the old Apple ID at any time.

Get out of everything in macOS

Now you may not be able to perform one of the first two procedures, or you may prefer to just undo your Apple ID, leaving your Mac configured exactly as it was before, as for another member of the family. In that case, you should find it anywhere you can be connected with an Apple ID for iCloud purchases and sync and disable its use.

In each of the following cases, you will need to confirm that you want to leave. In some situations, you will be asked to delete or keep local copies of the data. Choose to delete if you are really trying to disconnect the account.

Start with the main iCloud connection:

  • On macOS 15 Catalina, start the preferences panel with your Apple ID, click the link Overview left and click Go out. Follow the instructions to confirm.
  • In macOS 14 Mojave and earlier versions, open the iCloud preferences panel.

Then log out of all applications that may be connected to one or more Apple IDs that you can use:

  • Open Photos. Choice Photos> Preferences> iCloud and uncheck ICloud Photos.
  • Open Messaging. Choice Messages> Preferences> iMessage and click Go out.
  • Open FaceTime. Choice FaceTime> Preferences> Settings and click Go out.
  • Open the App Store and choose Shop> Exit.
  • Open the Books app and choose Shop> Exit.
  • Open the Internet Accounts preference panel, select the secondary iCloud accounts one by one and remove them by clicking the ?-? (minus) button.
  • Open E-mail. Choice E-mail> Preferences> Accounts, select iCloud and click the ?-? button.
  • In Mojave and earlier versions, open iTunes. Choice Account> Log Out.
  • In Catalina, open the Msica application. Choice Account> Log Out.
  • Also in Catalina, open the TV app. Choice Account> Log Out.

At each location, you can have documents stored locally that are not removed when you leave. When disconnecting your Apple ID, delete these local files if you don't want to leave them behind. This includes calendar, contacts, iTunes / Music, mail and photos. But you should also examine all folders in the home directory that contain files, such as Documents, Downloads, Music, Images.