CAUTION- Do this BEFORE upgrading  iOS or before getting a new iPhone
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(Note, this article was originally published September 17, 2013 when the iPhone 5 was released.  It has been updated for newest iOS 10–steps haven’t changed since iOS7)
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Lessons & Tips about iTunes and Your Account

Submitted by on July 21, 2009 – 11:43 pm6 Comments

I have been using iTunes for several years now.  My first iPod was a second generation iPod that still had a black and white screen.  I’ve loaded it up with all the CDs I owned.  It was too much of a hassle to transfer the songs and titles and all to iTunes from my vinyl albums (remember those?)  Instead I paid the 99 cents on iTunes to buy those old songs I loved that lived on albums

Recently I transferred my iTunes library to a new Macbook laptop. There were probably a couple hundred songs that I’ve bought over the years.  When I clicked on several of them to play a song, a dialog box restricted me from playing it.  It asked me to authorize the computer.  (Songs you buy today are “DRM” free –so you don’t have to worry about authorizing, but for the songs you’ve bought from itunes in previous years, they have copy protection.)

So, when I clicked on an older, purchased song, a dialog box popped up asking for a password to the email account that I used to buy that song.  The email accounts went back to my dial up internet days!   Obviously, my email address changed (actually it’s changed several times over the years).

I’ve worked this out but here are some lessons to learn

First lesson:    Use an online email address for iTunes. You can get a Mobile Me account from Apple or use an email from Yahoo, Hotmail/MSN, or Google Mail, etc.  This way, if you move or change internet providers, you don’t have to worry about a dead email account.

I tried to remember the passwords I used.  I didn’t have them noted where I usually keep my passwords.  I tried a few of my usual passwords but then got a message that the account was “disabled because of security reasons.” And now I couldn’t retrieve the password.

Lesson 2:  Keep your old passwords around. Alternatively, if you haven’t saved your passwords & if you have a Mac, you can go into the keychain utility.  You can do a search for it.  Click on the internet passwords and search for iTunes.  Any iTunes accounts will be there.  Once you click on the account, you can retrieve passwords by clicking the box that says “show password.”  BTW…This will work to retrieve a password for any other internet sign-in if you have said yes to saving it one of the times you filled it out.

Lesson 3: If you don’t know the password don’t guess more than 2 times. Most secure accounts will lock you out after the 3rd time.  (I don’t know why I keep making this mistake! I just keep thinking I’ll get it right…)

If you get locked out in iTunes: Go to  http://iforgot.apple.com You will be asked your security question (don’t forget that answer!) and you can change the password.

A miraculous thing happened once I changed the password.  Because all those address changes were linked to the same account.  Once the popup came up to authorize the computer, I put the password in, and all of the songs associated with all of those old email accounts worked! I only had to do it once!itunes-authorization

Phew!  A happy harmonious ending.


6 Comments »

  • Selena says:

    What do you do if you are locked out of your iTunes account and you tried to do the e-mail and the question thing but it still didn’t work? Mainly because it didn’t recognize the e-mail address or the answer to the security question.

  • admin says:

    Here’s the email to write to: http://iforgot.apple.com — hopefully you can remember the email address you used and they can help you. They’ll ask you other questions like what is your credit card number or something else that’s personal and you can ultimately get it. Good luck!

  • Abbey Carter says:

    I got an itunes card and ive spent all the money that was on there and now some ones brought me a new card and I dont know how to change the code to the code thats on the new card from the old code?

  • What you need to do is “redeem” the new card. In the iTunes store on your computer, go to your account email address that is in the upper right of the window. When you hover over the arrow you’ll see a menu that includes “redeem”…go to that window and redeem the code on the new card (you may have to scratch off the silver stuff to get to the number). If you are on an iPad or iPod, you can get to the redeem screen by tapping on “featured” then scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen. Tap on “redeem” and put in the number.

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