When you first set up your new iPhone - or any Apple device - you'll be asked to create an Apple ID. This is a universal account that will work with iCloud for your backups, the App Store, and to share your data between devices.
While this is a very useful thing to do, not everyone wants Apple to have access to their information. Thankfully, the process isn't mandatory, and in this article we'll show you how to set up your iPhone without creating an Apple ID.
Setting up your iPhone
If you have a new iPhone or have factory-reset your old one, then you'll need to go through the basic setup process when you turn it on. The first page will be the traditional Hello, followed by selecting your preferred language.
With this out of the way you'll be asked whether you want to use the Quick Start option or to do things manually. You'll want the latter, so tap the Set Up Manually option at the bottom of the screen.
Next, you'll need to connect to a Wi-Fi network. It's best to have already installed your SIM card before doing this, as the iPhone will search for the network as part of this section.
Now it's time to create a passcode or set up Face ID. You can skip this section if you don't want to use either, but we'd strongly recommend using them for your own security.
The iPhone will offer to install any backups you may have, but as this is a new install without an Apple ID you'll want to choose the option marked Set Up as New iPhone.
Finally, you will have arrived at the Apple ID page. In the text field for Apple ID there will be a placeholder name (usually [email protected]) where you would normally type in your account details. Instead, tap the Forgot password or don't have an Apple ID? option.
This takes you to a page with two main fields: Forgot Password or Apple ID and Create a Free Apple ID. If you look beneath these, you'll also find in blue the option to Set Up Later in Settings.
You'll see a dialog box asking if you're sure you don't want to use an Apple ID. Choose Don't Use then you'll be able to complete the process without needing to sign up to the Apple ID program.
That's it, you're now free to use your iPhone without an Apple ID. If you still want to sync up your data between devices then you could use services such as Google, which has contacts apps, Google Drive, Google Photos, and other offerings.
There are also plenty of similar apps on the App Store that can help you make sure your data is always with you, no matter which phone, computer or tablet you're using. Read 10 Best productivity & organisation apps for iPhone and iPad to see what's available.
If you want to give Apple a go, though, be sure to read our guide on How to use an Apple ID account.