Help. I've forgotten the password for my iCloud account. How do I reset or recover my Apple ID password?

Forgotten passwords are a common problem. People are advised to frequently change their passwords, and pick a different (complex) password for each service: that makes passwords hard to crack, but hard to remember, too. So we aren't surprised when people tell us they've forgotten their iCloud password.

The iCloud password is used to log into iCloud on your macOS and Apple devices, and also to log into iCloud.com. In most instances it will be the same Apple ID and password that you use to make purchases from the App Store. So if you can remember your App Store password, try it out when logging into iCloud.

No good? We can't help jog your memory, but we can help you reset your iCloud password with Apple so you can log in.

Read next: How to get someone else's Apple ID off your iPhone | How to remove card from iTunes & App Store

Updated 21 November with macOS inclusion.

Forgotten iCloud password

Forgotten iCloud password: Things to check

There are some simple errors that we've all made when entering a password - you won't be the first, and you definitely won't be the last. Here are some things to check if you've forgotten your iCloud password:

  • Caps Lock. Ensure that the Caps Lock key isn't pressed (it lights up when pressed). iCloud passwords are case-sensitive, so if you've got Caps Lock pressed when you shouldn't, you'll be entering the wrong password.
  • Make sure you're using the right email address and password for the Apple ID you use with that iCloud address.
  • If you see a message that your account has been disabled for security reasons you need to change or reset your password using the My Apple ID service.

How to reset a forgotten iCloud Password with My Apple ID

Forgotten iCloud Password Enter Security Questions

If you've forgotten your iCloud password you can use Apple's My Apple ID service to recover it. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Safari and enter appleid.apple.com.
  2. Click Forgot ID or password?
  3. Enter your Apple ID and click Next.
  4. There are three ways you can confirm your identity to Apple. Although you will most likely only see two: Email Authentication and Answer Security Questions.
  5. It's easiest to start with Email Authentication. Select it and click Next. Apple will then send an email to the backup account it has on file. It doesn't tell you which email account this is (it won't be the same email address as you use to sign in). So you'll have to go check your mail accounts and see if the email has come through.
  6. You will get an email from Apple with the message How To Reset Your Apple ID Password. Click the Reset Now link in the email and follow the instructions.
  7. Apple normally sends the How to Reset Your Apple ID Password email quickly, but you should give it an hour to come through in case there is a problem. If you haven't received the email by then, it may have been sent to an email address you are no longer using. Click Return To My Apple ID.
  8. Click Reset My Password and enter your Apple ID again and click Next. This time choose Answer Security Questions and click Next.
  9. Enter your Birth Date using the Month, Day and Year options.
  10. Enter the answers to the two security questions. These vary but are based on information you entered when you set up the account, such as your dream job and the name of the city in which your parents met. Click Next.
  11. Fill out the New Password and Confirm Password fields. You should use the same password in each field.
  12. Click Reset password.

Forgotten iCloud password Enter new password

You will now have reset your password in macOS. If you have two-step verification enabled you will also be able to use this to reset your password. You will need your recovery key (the print out you created when you set up two-step verification) and to be working from a trusted device. This Apple Support document has more information on using Two-Step verification to recover a password.

Read next: How to unlock a disabled Apple ID that's been locked "for security reasons" | How to fix an iPhone that keeps asking for your iCloud login and password