How to Add a Recovery Contact on your iPhone for your Apple ID

When it releases for the masses in September this year, iOS 15 will make things done much faster than ever before with improvements in NotificationsWeather, Spotlight, PhotosFaceTime, Apple Maps, Safari, and Find My. In addition to new features, you should also see changes that have been made towards user privacy and account security as a whole. 

iOS 15 will be making maintaining access to your Apple account a little easier with a new option – Account Recovery. In this post, we’ll explain what this feature is all about, what do you need to use it, and how to set it up on your Apple ID account. 

What is Account Recovery on iOS?

With the upcoming updates to iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, Apple plans to tackle the problem of not being able to remember your Apple ID password with a new feature – Account Recovery. The feature is set to help those of you who have the tendency of forgetting stuff including your account passwords so that you don’t get locked out of your own Apple account after entering the password incorrectly several times. 

With Account Recovery, you can choose a person you trust like a friend or family to set them as your Recovery Contact. When you do that, you can contact this trusted person at a later time whenever you forget your Apple ID password or your iPhone’s passcode. This person will then receive a special code that should help you unlock your account immediately. 

Required iOS version

The ability to set up a recovery contact for your Apple ID account is available only on iOS 15. At this moment, you can only use iOS 15 as a developer/public beta for select iPhones but we’d advise against installing it on your primary device since these early software builds may often have bugs and issues that could hinder your daily work. 

If you wish to check your iPhone’s current OS version, open the Settings app and go to Settings > General > About > Software Version.

How to Add a Recovery Contact for your Apple ID

Before you set up a recovery contact for your Apple ID account, you need to make sure that all of your Apple devices are connected to the same Apple. This makes sure that the same Recovery Contact can be used to unlock all your devices. 

Once that’s behind you, you can go ahead and add a Recovery Contact for your Apple ID. For this, open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on your Apple ID card at the top. 

Inside the Apple ID screen, select the Password & Security option.

On the next screen, scroll down and tap on the Account Recovery option. 

On the ‘Account Recovery’ screen, select the Add Recovery Contact option under ‘Recovery Assistance’. 

When you do that, you’ll be greeted with an ‘Account Recovery Contact’ screen that pops up. Here, Apple will give you an idea of what Account Recovery is and how it works. 

To proceed to the next step, tap on the Add Recovery Contact option at the bottom. 

You’ll now be asked to authenticate this option using your Touch ID or Face ID. 

Once you do that, you’ll be taken to the next screen. Here, you’ll be asked to enter the current password to your Apple ID. Enter your Apple ID password and then tap on the Sign in button at the top right corner. 

Now, you will be required to add the contact information of the person you trust to help you reset your Apple ID password in the future.

Select all the people you want to add by tapping on the circle adjacent to their names to mark them with a tick and then tap on Next

Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup process and you can repeat the steps again to add another recovery contact. The person you’re adding as your Recovery Contact will have to accept the invite that they get prompted with on their Apple device. 

What happens when you forget your Apple ID password?

If you somehow forget your Apple ID password in the future and you’re locked out of your account, you can use the Account Recovery feature to get it back immediately. Although Apple doesn’t precisely explain how and where it will be visible, the basic idea is that you’ll need to contact the trusted person you selected as your Recovery Contact and they will be able to provide you with a verification code to help you regain access to your Apple ID account.

This verification should pop up on the Recovery contact’s Apple device and it will be sufficient enough to get your account unlocked. Since the feature is still in development, we’re yet to find out precisely where you can locate the verification code but we can expect it to be visible inside the Settings app. 

Apple says that at no time will your recovery contact be able to access your data. They will only be able to help you recover it and log back into your Apple account. 

After you have received the verification code from your trusted contact, you can get your account unlocked and then reset your Apple ID password by creating a new one. It’s unknown what might trigger iOS or macOS to get you to the ‘Recovery code’ screen but we believe it could appear after a handful of unsuccessful attempts at entering your Apple ID password.

Make sure you either jot down the new password that you have set for your Apple ID somewhere else or the password itself is easy enough for you to remember the next time around.  

Why can’t I add a Recovery Contact for my Apple account?

If you followed the steps we’ve mentioned above and you haven’t been able to set up a Recovery Contact for your Apple ID, then this is why you may be running into issues:

  • Your iPhone isn’t running on iOS 15: The ability to add a Recovery Contact is only available for iPhones that are running on iOS 15. Since iOS 15 is only available in beta at the time of writing, we suggest you wait till this fall for Apple to roll out the stable update for you. 
  • All your other Apple devices haven’t been updated to their latest beta software: Since this is a protective measure, Apple doesn’t only request you to connect all your devices to the Apple ID but also makes sure you’re running them on their latest firmware. You won’t be able to use Account Recovery on your Apple ID account if your Mac isn’t running on macOS Monterey (beta) or your iPad doesn’t run on iPadOS 15 (beta). If you own a bunch of Apple devices, you can use the Account Recovery option either by updating all of them to their latest (beta) firmware or by removing them from your Apple ID. 

  • The person you want to set as Recovery Contact doesn’t have an Apple device: For the Account Recovery option to work, the person you’re adding as your Recovery Contact should own an Apple device. This is a requirement as the setup process won’t go through the selected people aren’t Apple users themselves. 

That’s all there is to know about Account Recovery on iOS 15.

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Ambivalent, unprecedented, and on the run from everyone's idea of reality. A consonance of love for filter coffee, cold weather, Arsenal, AC/DC, and Sinatra.

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