Q: I am seeing “The maximum number of free accounts have been activated on the phone,” and now I can’t log into my phone because I keep getting this message.
I tried to create an iCloud account on my iPhone, but I received that message about the maximum number of free accounts. Can anyone help! What does this mean?
A: Apple limits users to 3 iCloud accounts meaning you can only create three iCloud accounts on each iDevice. You see this error when you try to create a fourth iCloud account on your iDevice (iPad, iPod or iPhone).
Unfortunately, Apple currently limits all its iDevice products to a maximum number of free accounts–3 total iCloud accounts per iDevice. Any single iDevice creates up to a maximum of three iCloud accounts and these accounts are tied to your iDevice’s hardware, not your user account. This means the restriction is attached to the iDevice itself. So you will never be able to create another iCloud account on that iPhone or another iDevice. It’s an Apple hard rule so there’s no way around this set limit. If you already created all of your three iCloud accounts, you can’t create another iCloud account using that particular device.
Regrettably, restoring or resetting your iDevice does NOT change this. Your options are to either re-use one of the accounts that you previously created, or create a new iCloud account on a different iDevice or Mac.
We recommend creating an additional iCloud account using a Mac or a different iDevice. Creating an account via Windows PC often does NOT WORK–better to use an Apple product (Mac or iDevice.)
Once you create a new iCloud account with another iDevice or Mac, then you will be able to sign into it on your iPhone or the iDevice in question (the one that already has three iCloud accounts associated with it.) There’s no problem signing into existing iCloud accounts. You just cannot create any new iCloud accounts on that iDevice.
So go ahead and create an iCloud account on a different iDevice or Mac, delete your current iCloud account registered on your iPhone, and sign into the account that you just created on the Mac or different iDevice.
Wrapping It Up
Sadly, you can’t deactivate any iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device created iCloud accounts, even if you don’t use them (or they were a previous owner’s account.) That’s because this maximum number is tied to the device itself–the hardware–rather than any one user. Any single device can ONLY create three iCloud accounts in its lifetime. And there is no way to change this or wipe the slate clean.
However, there are options to get new iCloud accounts. Instead of creating an iCloud account on your current device, set one up on a Mac or a friend’s/family member’s iOS device–you cannot do this via a Windows PC or Android device. Once you set-up that new iCloud account, just log in with your new Apple ID credentials on your device and you are good to go.
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