So you’ve got yourself a Mac, a Macbook Pro, an iPhone and an iPad? Of course, you’re a smart user, you switched on the “Find my iPhone” app so now no-one can make off with your phone without you tracking it…
It’s a great tool but what happens when you lose access to your Apple ID? Now you might be locked out of your own devices??? It happened to me.
If you are locked out of your apple account and need a quick fix, skip to the bottom section titled SOLVED. This next bit is just a rant.
I’m a big believer in 2-Factor Authentication. As soon as Apple made it available, I jumped onboard. When you sign up, you nominate a trusted device (your iPhone or iPad most likely) and maybe a mobile number for SMS backup and BOOM you’ve got yourself 2-Factor Auth! At the sign up time you are also given a recovery key just in case it all goes bad. I think you’d be nuts to store something like this in DropBox or another on-line service, because with the recovery key, you OWN that account, you DO NOT want that falling into the wrong hands. So printing it out and storing it somewhere safe is a good option. And that’s what I did. A few years ago. And then moved house and lost that very important piece of paper. OOPS.
Yesterday I got locked out of my account.
At first I wasn’t too bothered, I’ve been locked out of my Google Account before (with 2 Factor turned on) and several other services, I figured as long as I had my phone (the trusted device) I’d be ok. WRONG.
Here’s what happened….
PRE IOS 8 and family sharing, all the family used my iTunes account to buy their apps. Recently, we’ve been having some issues with iMessage – namely, everyone else is logging in as ME and receiving my messages and I’m NOT! Hooray IOS 8 Family sharing fixes this problem. So I changed my password to lock the sneaky buggers out and I’ve gradually moved everyone off to their own individual accounts. BUT I forgot one. And that one spent all morning entering the old password over and over again.. and what happens you might ask when you fail authentication over and over again. It looks like a security breach and your account gets locked. BOOM.
I’m directed here to an article titled: Apple ID: Can’t sign in with two-step verification
There is a section titled “If you lost your Recovery Key” which fills me with hope. HEY “I” lost my recovery key, there’s section on how to deal with this so it must be solvable right? WRONG.
Here’s the advice it gives:
Go to My Apple ID, select “Manage your Apple ID,” and sign in. Under Edit your Apple ID, select “Password and Security.” Under Recovery Key, select Replace Lost Key and follow the onscreen instructions.
Sound simple right?
The only problem with this approach is that once the account is locked the only way to access it again is with the recovery key. If the account is NOT locked, you can indeed generate a new key. For me, this was super frustrating to find an article which seemed to state the problem and offer a solution and then get caught in an endless loop continuously asking for a recovery key that I no longer had. Every APPLE forum article pointed me in the same direction with the answer always the same, this screen…
As it happens, the account lock is only temporary. As long as there is no longer a continuous stream of failed logon attempts (easy to fix in my case) the account lock is only temporary. 8 Hours later, as long as I had access to both a trusted device and my original password I was able to logon again and generate a new recovery key. Not that Apple themselves could tell me this, as far as I know, I still have an open support case escalated to highest echelons of engineering NONE of whom had a clue what was going on.
I hope if you stumbled across this post, you took some comfort and were able to get back into your account. I stressed like mad and then it all just sorted itself out…
This fix (if you can it that) only works under certain circumstances..
The circumstances are:
- you’ve enabled 2-factor authentication
- you’ve lost or misplaced your recovery key
- you’ve still got both your original password and access to a trusted device
- someone has entered your Apple ID password incorrectly several times and the account has become locked.
Stop the logon attempts. Wait 8 Hours and log back in. THEN quickly get a new recovery key and learn from your first mistake!