Working with Mac OS

How to add a recovery contact to your Apple ID

If you ever lose the password to your Apple ID account and cannot enter the device, believe me that the solution will not be easy and surely you will have created real headaches to get the solution.

It can also happen that your account is locked for security reasons, such as too many unsuccessful login attempts. Apple has designed its system in such a way that you can’t just reset your password.

In fact, there is a account recovery process and a system for using trusted phone numbers to reset your account, but options are limited if you have two-factor authentication enabled (which is required).

Using the recovery key It is one way to fix this problem, but it has limitations, as you will not be able to reset your password unless you have the trusted device and the recovery key.

With iOS 15 and the arrival of macOS Monterey, Apple offers a simpler workaround to the problem of what happens if I am blocked, using the new ‘Recovery Contacts’ mode of use.

What is a recovery contact?

A recovery contact is a trusted person you can designate to obtain a one-time recovery code if it turns out that you cannot access your Apple ID account.

That person must communicate to you by phone (or in person) the code they have received from the system, which you can enter on your device to regain access. Afterwards, you will be asked to reset your password.

Naturally, your recovery contacts (you can have several) should be people you know well and trust, such as close family members.

It should also be someone you can easily contact if you can’t access your account. They will need to have at least one modern Apple device to get the code, and they must be 13 years or older.

How to set up ‘Recovery Contacts’

Setting up a recovery contact is easy. The hardest part is making sure all of your Apple devices are up to date. They will need to be running iOS 15, iPad OS 15, or macOS Monterey on all of them. If you have the iCloud software on a Windows PC, it must also be up to date.

If you have old devices assigned to your Apple ID account, which run with old software and cannot be updated (they have been lost or destroyed or whatever), you can open ‘Settings> Apple ID’ to remove them from your list of authorized devices.


Once it has been updated, add a recovery contact by following these steps:

  • Open ‘Settings’.
  • Tap on your Apple ID (the big tile with your name on it).
  • Open the option ‘Password and security’.
  • Click on open account recovery.
  • Tap on ‘Add recovery contact’ and follow the instructions.

If you do it through a Mac, these are the steps to follow:

  • Open the ‘System Preferences’.
  • Click on the Apple ID.
  • Select ‘Password and security’ in the sidebar.
  • In the ‘Account recovery’ section, enter ‘Manage’.
  • Within the ‘Recovery Assistance’ section, click the button [+] and follow the instructions step by step.

For your peace of mind, you should know that the contact will not have access to your iCloud account at any time. When you cannot access your devices and the ‘password recovery’ procedure begins, you will be able to choose one of your designated ‘Recovery Contacts’.

Mac contacts recovery

You will be sent a short code that said person will have to provide you so that you can enter it on your own device and prove that you are the true owner.

After this process, the system will ask you to change the password with a new one and everything will work as before. You will continue to have your recovery contacts for future occasions.

We have an interesting article about what to do if your Apple ID is locked or disabled.

Original article published in Macworld US.

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