If your iPhone displays a strange message that says the device is already linked to another Apple ID, don’t panic. The alert simply indicates your device is already associated with an Apple ID. As a result, you can’t link it to another account right away. Of course, things may get a bit more complicated if your device is linked to an old Apple ID that you don’t use anymore. Most likely, you already forgot the password associated with that account.
Your Apple ID Acts as a Security Feature
Your Apple ID can turn a stolen iPhone into a useless brick acting as an antitheft system. If someone steals your device and tries to use a new ID to restore it, iOS will prompt them to use the Apple ID associated with the device. If they fail to do that, they remain locked out.
Remove the Problematic iPhone From iCloud
If you bought a used iPhone, contact the previous owner and ask them to remove the device from their iCloud account. All they need to do is connect to iCloud, select Find Device, select the iPhone they want to remove, and then click on Remove From Account.
Reset Your Apple ID Password
On the other hand, if you forgot your password, you can try to reset it. There are different ways to do that. For example, you can use a recovery key or contact, or use the Apple Support app.
Keep in mind that you’re the sole responsible for remembering your ID and password. If you often forget your password or ID, write them down on a piece of paper and keep them in a safe place.
Use Recovery Mode
Alternatively, you can also use DFU to skip the Apple ID step and restore your iPhone. DFU is usually used as an advanced troubleshooting solution and recovery method when your iOS device is completely unresponsive.
Keep in mind that if you use DFU to restore your iPhone, all the data stored on the device will get deleted. You’ll need to reset the device to be able to use it again.
How to Enable DFU Mode
- Connect your iOS device to your Mac.
- Launch iTunes.
- Press and release the Volume Up button.
- Then, press and release the Volume Down button.
- Now, hold the Power button until the device shuts down.
- Keep on holding the Power button and press the Volume Down button for 5 seconds.
- Release the Power button but keep on pressing the Volume Down button.
- Wait until your computer detects the iPhone has entered Recovery Mode.
- Select Restore to reinstall iOS.
Wait for up to 90 Days
If your iPhone is already associated with a different ID, you may need to wait for a few more days until you can link the device to your current Apple ID. Check if the alert says “This device is associated with another Apple ID. You cannot associate this device with another Apple ID for X days.”
This alert usually pops up if you already associated your iPhone with a new Apple ID in the last 90 days. Use a Mac to unlink your iPhone from the associated ID. If you can’t do that, sign out of your Apple ID on the problematic iPhone and try again. Well, if the issue persists, there’s nothing else you can do. You need to wait for up to 90 days until you can associate your iPhone with a different Apple ID.
If your iPhone is already associated with an Apple ID, log in to your iCloud account and remove the device. If you forgot the password, you can try to reset it. Alternatively, you can enter DFU Mode and restore your iPhone. In rare cases, you may need to wait for up to 90 days before you can associate your iPhone with a different Apple ID.
Did you manage to get rid of the alert? Did you find other solutions to solve the problem? Let us know in the comments below.