Help!! No recovery key & locked out of iCloud: 2-factor authentication Catch-22

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by passepartout, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. passepartout macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2010
    I set up 2-factor authentication when it was first offered by Apple.

    This evening, a few hours ago, I suddenly starting getting requests to enter my AppleID password on my iPhone., which was NOT accepted when I entered it.

    My first thought was: maybe it needs an app-specific password so I'll create one at

    So I went to on my Mac, entered my password and saw:

    "Your Apple ID has been disabled for security reasons. "

    Strange, since I had been sending & receiving emails at my address quite normally. I checked my and found that I had been signed out.

    Now, says that you need at least two of the following to access your account: trusted device, password or recovery key.

    I don't have my recovery key.
    But that's OK because says that:

    If you lost your Recovery Key
    As long as you remember your Apple ID password and still have access to one of your trusted devices, you can sign in and create a new Recovery Key.

    Except that I can't sign in, because my "Apple ID has been disabled for security reasons. "


    I have my trusted devices and password, but I can't seem to do anything without my recovery key. Does anyone have any idea what I can do?

    The irony is that I can't even post a question on the support forums, without being able to log in using my Apple ID

    Someone please help me!!!
  2. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    You need to talk to Apple support directly, as they can best assist you in this matter.
  3. Alimar macrumors 6502a


    Sep 17, 2014
    New York State
    When you signed up for Apple ID, did you enter a 'Rescue' email address? Apple will send a link to THAT addy... you'll click on a link to reset. Follow the instructions carefully. If you are locked out, the Rescue email may notify you that it will be 8 hours till you can attempt again. The rescue email link is valid for three hours. After that, you have to initiate a reset again. Apple will assist you over the phone. Be prepared to include a device/computer serial number... just in case.
  4. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    When you signed up for 2-factor auth, it should have asked you to also enter a trusted phone number that can be used to receive the secondary code by SMS. Do you get that choice when you try to log in at

    Also, I wonder why exactly the account has been disabled ...
  5. passepartout thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2010
    @Rigby No there is no option to send verification tokens to my trusted devices (either SMS or push msg to my iPhones, which would seem to be a sensible option), only to reset the password using the Recovery Key.

    I connected to Apple Support - they can't do anything over chat, and have arranged a call back tomorrow. Less than ideal, since I'm locked out of my mail, iTunes and everything connected to my Apple ID, through no action of my own. It's not as if I forgot my password and tried unsuccessfully to enter it many times. I KNOW my password and have all my trusted devices.

    I'm wondering what caused the problem in the first place. I didn't receive any verification codes on my trusted devices to indicate that someone had tried any unauthorised login attempts.
  6. Firewolf macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2014
    Hi all,
    I had a exactly same problem with @passepartout yesterday.
    I've try every way to get my account enabled but all not work (even contact with apple).

    But today, my account is enabled. I don't know how it is but after that I create a new recovery key immidiately.

    I really hope same thing happen to you guys.
    Thanks and good luck :).
  7. passepartout thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2010
    Update: spontaneous resolution

    I had a call with Apple Support, who were very friendly, but did not - beyond verifying that I was who I said I was - do anything on the call to actually resolve my original problem.

    The situation appears to have resolved spontaneously ie. I am no longer trapped in the 'cannot login: account disabled' -> 'require recovery key' -> 'to reset recovery key, please login to appleID' -> 'cannot login : account disabled' loop and thus now send a verification token to one of my trusted devices (which was not an option before)

    My suspicion is that this was an unintended bug introduced by Apple (given the absence of any evidence of an attempted unauthorised access), that they have now fixed.

    I would be interested to know how many other people were affected by this.
  8. leo8877 macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2010
    I am also having this issue, where iforgot wants the verification key that I don't still have and the lost key link points me to the manage Apple ID login which won't accept my credentials as the account is disabled. Apple care on the phone said to wait 24 hours and the account would not be disabled and I would be able to login at that point and get a new recovery key. Is this what you did too?
  9. passepartout thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2010
    Yes, in my case, it resolved itself spontaneously (before I had my Apple support call, actually).

    I think it's a bug at their end that needs to be resolved. Or perhaps, they have deliberately introduced this to cover up a deeper security flaw. In any case, seems to me to be extremely poor that we can be locked out of our essential AppleID account (calendar, mail, iTunes, app store etc.) through no action of our own.
  10. barakthecat macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2006
    Just had this happen to me. I was working on my Mac when suddenly I got multiple modal messages saying my iCloud login had expired and to enter my password. After several attempts (never telling me I was entering it wrong), it said my account was locked for security reasons. When I go to reset my password I enter my recovery key, which it promptly rejects, and I can’t get it to send a code to my trusted device because the account is locked.

    I have a service call set up for noon tomorrow, but I hope my experience is similar to yours and it just starts working. Oddly enough I still have access to my email.
  11. barakthecat macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2006
    So after spending 3 hours on the phone with Apple support, my account is truly locked forever unless I can come up with the recovery key it is looking for (I wrote down my recovery key, but it’s not working). They don’t know what went wrong. So not only do I lose access to my email account that I have used since January 7, 2000 (yes, I registered on the day iTools became available), but I will eventually also lose access to all the movies, apps, and books I have purchased (and some of my music which I never upgraded from the old iTunes DRM) since it’s all tied to a dead account. Helpfully enough, iCloud is still happy to collect email on my behalf without ever notifying the sender that I will never, ever, ever, be able to receive it.

    Basically I am left hoping that they will filter out my dead email address so it will at least bounce, and that they will restore the lost apps, movies, books, and applications to a new iCloud account.

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