Raise your hand if you’ve got more than one Apple ID. Most people, it seems, have managed to setup multiple accounts over the years, some tied to email addresses that are long dormant and others created but never used. It’d be nice if Apple allowed users to merge those ID’s, allowing purchases to be consolidated to one account, but that’s still just a pipe dream for the time being. We can, however, delete those old ID’s so that they’re not just out there collecting dust in the cybersphere. 

Deactivating an Apple ID means that any purchases, iCloud content – including Mail and Drive storage – and associated iMessages will be lost. It’s not a decision to be entered into lightly. You might be better off trying to recover the password to the account or changing the primary email address associated. Securing an old ID is also possible, with two-factor authentication serving as an excellent gate keeper for even unused accounts. If you do want to proceed with deleting of an ID, though, read on for the full process.

When you delete an Apple ID, you lose the ability to associate its email address with any other Apple ID’s. That also goes for secondary email addresses tied to the ID, and many accounts have at least two or three email addresses attached. Before proceeding further, it’s good to check and, if you find any, remove any email addresses you can. Follow this link and sign in with the ID you’ll be deleting.

On the resulting page, you’ll see every email address connected to your ID. Click on the Edit button near the top right of the page, and then you can add or remove emails. Some addresses, like iCloud email aliases and the ID email itself, cannot be removed.

The next step, if your Apple ID is also an iCloud ID, is to save as much content as you can before deactivating the account. Backup your Mac to something like Time Machine, and your iOS devices to iTunes or a different iCloud ID. Then, login to icloud.com and export your photos, documents, emails, contacts, and anything else you’d like to save either to an external hard drive or another service. 

Now we’re ready to start the real process. Ensure you have all of the information for the desired ID handy, and then go to this site. Choose “Talk to us”, and on the resulting page choose Apple ID.

From here, go ahead and choose Other Apple ID Topics.

And finally, select the option to Delete your Apple ID account.

At this point, you’ll be directed to speak with Apple support. Usually there’s an option to have them call you directly, which is convenient. Since you’ve followed all of the online prompts, you should land in the right place right away, but it is a small group of people at Apple who have the ability to delete ID’s. If the person you speak with says they’re unable to help you out, ask to be transferred to higher level support and repeat the request. They’ll make sure you understand that you’re losing access to a bunch of stuff, which you should have no problem with because you’ve already saved everything you need. Once you’ve confirmed that and verified your identity with the representative, they’ll process your request for ID deletion. And that’s all there is to it!