I recently helped a friend activate her iPhone 5. She used to have an iPhone 4S which I helped her do a backup on my Macbook. After backing up her iPhone 4S, I restored her iPhone 5 with the backup. Because her SIM card was not the correct size, I used my own SIM card to activate the phone as well.

But now there is a very weird issue where if she downloads certain apps from the App Store, it would ask for my Apple ID credentials instead of her's. I tried signing out of the App Store and having her sign in. But every time I download a certain app, it keeps asking for my credentials. Very strange.

Any one know of how to fix this?

PS: iCloud is also signed in with her credentials.

  • 1
    Is there a pattern in the apps that require your password? Is it simply every app you've purchased?
    – Tuesday
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 12:15
  • @timothymh one very loose pattern that I noticed is that the apps that require the password are also apps that I also have on my own iPhone. I mentioned that I synced her phone onto my macbook which also has synced with my iPhone. Not sure if this is the issue. Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 5:16
  • Ah, I've got it!
    – Tuesday
    Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 21:44

4 Answers 4

  • When an iPhone is restored from a backup, it gets as much data as is can locally. Any app data is stored in the backup, but the apps themselves either have to be synced from a local iTunes (preferred) or downloaded.

  • When an iPhone is synched with iTunes, by default all apps on the iPhone are copied to the iTunes library, assuming iTunes is registered with the same Apple ID as they were purchased with. I think.

  • iOS app files are registered with a specific Apple ID, and without this same authentication, there's no (easy, non-jailbreak) way to use the app with another Apple ID.

So, when you restored your friend's iPhone with your computer, rather than download all of the apps from the iTunes servers, it copied as many as it could from your computer. These apps are linked to your Apple ID, so in order for your friend to use them her iPhone would need to be registered with your Apple ID.

The solution: Your friend can back up her iPhone to iCloud or another computer (make sure, if so, that the offending apps are deleted from the iTunes library after synching) and restore it again. This will definitely keep her data from the other apps, and probably from yours as well. Alternatively, she can delete all of yours and re-download them from the App Store, which will definitely lose the data.

  • nice! worked like a charm. Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 7:51
  • 1
    Note that you can also create a new user account on your Mac with an empty user library, if you don't have a spare laptop to back it up to. Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 8:02

I have found a solid solution to the problem. I once put some music on my friends phone and you have to sync to do that and when you do you add his apple ID to your computer. What has happened is that somehow I downloaded an app and he had also and the app is backed up to the icloud under his apple ID. The fix is to

  1. first sign into itunes account for the account that is the wrong one and go and then go to help and view account info. Then down to itunes in the cloud and on the right click on manage devices, then remove from the computer you first synced the wrong account to. Next comes the tedious part.
  2. sign into itunes using the correct account and then go to the apps section, specifically the update all section. Next right click on your apps and then view info, you should see which acct the apps were originally purchased/downloaded into your phone and also the ones that were purchased/downloaded to the wrong acct. NOW delete those apps not synced to the right itunes ID and select delete from computer also. After removing the problematic apps, update them, then sync the phone and all should be good.

I believe that if you download a DRM-free file to your iPhone, some of the metadata of the person who first obtained that file copies over. I had a weird Apple ID come up and bingo, under Show Info for one of my music videos, there was his email address.


I found another solution that may be good for some people.

If you don't mind deleting your apps in iTunes, just when you're about to back up your friend's phone, delete all the apps on your iTunes, go to the Apps tab, press Cmd-A and right click delete. You might also have to de authorise your iTunes, and authorise it with your friend's Apple ID when prompted.

Then after this, back up your friend's old phone (press Backup now) and restore it to their new phone.

This shouldn't affect you if you regularly back up your phone daily, just that maybe your next backup might take a bit longer.

Note that if you are keeping old versions of apps (e.g. Apps that have now been pulled from the App Store, apps that new versions aren't compatible with your phone, etc), then do not use this method. You will lose those Nintedo emulators etc.

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