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Losing your Apple ID password can make your digital life a misery, because it can leave you locked out of the account that you use to manage your Apple devices, unable to access your iCloud data and manage your app and service subscriptions.

Recovery-Contact-Feature.jpg

In this scenario, Apple can't just reset your password for you, especially if your have two-factor authentication enabled. Setting up a recovery is one alternative solution, however in such cases you can't change your password unless you have a trusted second device as well as the recovery key.

In an effort to make things easier, Apple in iOS 15 allows you to set up an account recovery contact that can help make sure you always have access to your account, even if you forget your Apple ID password or device passcode. Your recovery contact is someone who can verify your identity and help you regain access to your account and all of your data if you ever get locked out.

Who Should Be My Recovery Contact?

Your recovery contact should be a person you know and trust, such as a family member or a close friend. They will need an iOS device of their own running iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 or later, and must be over the age of 13. They'll also need two-factor authentication turned on for their own account and a passcode set up on their device.

How to Invite Someone to Be Your Recovery Contact

  1. Open the Settings app on your iOS device and tap your Apple ID banner at the top of the main menu.
  2. Tap Password & Security.
    1how-to-set-recovery-contact-ios.jpg

    Tap Account Recovery.
  3. Under "Recovery Assistance," tap Add Recovery Contact.
    2how-to-set-recovery-contact-ios.jpg

    Read the onscreen information, then tap Add Recovery Contact.
  4. Choose a recovery contact. If you're part of a Family Sharing group, eligible contacts will appear in the options. Alternately, tap Choose Someone Else to search your contacts.
  5. Tap Next and the following screen lets you send your chosen contact a message letting them know you've added them as your recovery contact. You can send the default message or edit it before sending. Tap Send when you're ready, then tap Done.
    3how-to-set-recovery-contact-ios.jpg
Remember to save the person's phone number so that you can contact them if you need help with account recovery.

How to Help Someone Regain Access to Their Account

If you are someone's designated recovery contact, here's how you can help them. They'll first have to verify some of their Apple ID account information, and then they'll contact you over the phone or in person. The following steps show how you go about generating and sharing a recovery code that they can then enter on their device.
  1. Open the Settings app on your iOS device and tap your Apple ID banner at the top of the main menu.
  2. Tap Password & Security -> Account Recovery.
  3. Tap your contact's name, then tap Get Recovery Code.
  4. When your friend is ready, read them their recovery code. Once they've entered it on their device, they'll be able to reset their password and regain access to their Apple account.
How to Remove Yourself As a Recovery Contact

If you no longer want to be someone's recovery contact, follow these steps on your iOS device.
  1. Open the Settings app on your iOS device and tap your Apple ID banner at the top of the main menu.
  2. Tap Password & Security -> Account Recovery.
  3. Under "Account Recovery For," tap the person's name.
  4. Tap Remove Contact.
After completing these steps, the contact will automatically receive a message explaining that you're no longer their account recovery contact.

Note: To set up the recovery contact feature, all of the iOS devices associated with your account must be upgraded to iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 or later. Apple Watches must be upgraded to watchOS 8 or later. You will not be able to use the recovery contact feature until you upgrade all of your devices or remove them from your Apple ID account.

Article Link: iOS 15: How to Set a Recovery Contact for Your Apple ID Account
 
Last edited:

justperry

macrumors G5
Aug 10, 2007
12,558
9,750
I'm a rolling stone.

Your recovery contact should be a person you know and trust, such as a family member or a close friend. They will need an iOS device of their own running iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 or later, and must be over the age of 13. They'll also need two-factor authentication turned on for their own account and a passcode set up on their device.

This should be available for earlier iOS versions as well.

Edit: But then again, iOS can be installed on an iPhone 6S and later.
 
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SantaFeNM

macrumors regular
Oct 13, 2012
150
210
Santa Fe, NM
It unfortunately seems that if you have older iOS devices that you continue to use that are stuck on older iOS, you can't use this feature. This is a screenshot from my SE 2020 with iOS 15.0.2. I don't use the 6 Plus as a phone, just for a music library/streaming.

IMG_4757.jpg
 

KaliYoni

macrumors 68000
Feb 19, 2016
1,722
3,799
It unfortunately seems that if you have older iOS devices that you continue to use that are stuck on older iOS, you can't use this feature.
I'm facing the same situation. I have two iPads that are no longer updatable but are still in use. This mean I can't set up a Recovery Contact even though I have several other devices that are on supported OS'a.
:(
 

JNGold

macrumors 6502a
Aug 25, 2009
889
73
On iOS 15.0.2 and it doesn't work. When I click Add Recovery Contact, a second screen comes up. When I click the Blue "Add Recovery Contact" button, Face ID authenticates then the phone does nothing. Two factor auth is on and password is enabled.
 
Last edited:

madrigal77

macrumors 6502a
Aug 2, 2018
654
1,404
It unfortunately seems that if you have older iOS devices that you continue to use that are stuck on older iOS, you can't use this feature. This is a screenshot from my SE 2020 with iOS 15.0.2. I don't use the 6 Plus as a phone, just for a music library/streaming.

View attachment 1865052
Same here. Absolutely stupid. Hopefully it's just a bug.
 

karl76uk

macrumors newbie
Oct 14, 2021
9
2
I can’t used this because for some reason my Apple Watch is showing firmware that’s out of date even though it’s on watchOS 8.0.1 plus o don’t really want to have to wipe my watch every time to fix this. My iPhone is on 15.0.2 as well

Apple bugs ? ? ?
 

mlody

macrumors 68000
Nov 11, 2012
1,592
1,220
Windy City
My daughter has my old S2 Apple Watch, so even-though her iPhone X is on 15.0.2, she is out of luck cause her AW does not support newer watchOS.


IMG_5176.jpeg
 

Astrohunter

macrumors regular
Sep 16, 2021
142
99
Wait, what?

So I should have 2 factors on my account for security. But my recovery contact can just generate a single code to sign into my account? Doesn't this effectively circumvent 2FA?
This is what I am confused about. It just doesn't make any sense.
 

szw-mapple fan

macrumors 68040
Jul 28, 2012
3,481
4,342
Wait, what?

So I should have 2 factors on my account for security. But my recovery contact can just generate a single code to sign into my account? Doesn't this effectively circumvent 2FA?
Presumably your recovery contact would need 2FA to be on to use this. After that it’s a matter of whether you trust them enough.
 
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