I want to use my son's email for his new iPad mini, but previously his email was associated with my Apple ID on my iPhone 5c as an alternate email address. I have deleted his email from my Apple ID, but I still can't set up his iPad using his own email address.

I am attempting to create a new Apple ID for him with his email so all my contacts won't come up on his iPad mini. When we try it, it says that the email is already associated with an Apple ID.

  • Also, if there is a better question to cover this in general, please @ me and I’ll bounty that question if needed. This might be specific to new AppleID and not changing an existing AppleID to use a new email.
    – bmike
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 9:19

2 Answers 2


Yes, you should be able to. Having an email address as a secondary email address on another Apple ID does not mean that the email address does not have an Apple ID already associated with it. Try to regain access to the existing Apple ID associated with the email address at iforgot.apple.com.

  • I have not had success with this lately. I don’t know if my accounts were work or developer ones so the emails once user are now burned due to enhanced security on those type accounts or if this is a general change in policy.
    – bmike
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 9:13
  • @bmike What error happens when you try, just that it's already associated with an Apple ID? What do you get going through iforgot.apple.com with the secondary email?
    – grg
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 8:34
  • what is 'should be able to' based on? Is there a document from Apple outlining this as a supported feature? It is possible instead that this email has been used as an Apple ID in the past, and the OP isnt aware of it
    – cmason
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 13:17

The email you use for the Apple ID does not have to be the same as the one you actually use for email.

You don't need to use your son's existing email as an Apple ID either. You can create a different ID for Apple ID, then initially set his real email as the secondary. This would avoid the issue you are facing. The flow is like this: New disposable email> Register as Apple ID>Real email as secondary> get confirm email from Apple>change real email to primary email.

You need to have email access for the email you associate with your Apple ID in the initial on-boarding steps (you have to confirm that you have access to the email account), but there is no requirement that you use that email address after on-boarding. In the Apple ID configuration panel, you can add additional email addresses, and use those other email addresses as the primary email for contact emails as well as the email you wish to use for things like Messages. This way all emails come to the 'real' email and nothing goes to the 'temporary' email.

For example, I have an old hotmail.com email address that I still have access to, but have abandoned due to excessive spam. I use a gmail.com address instead for daily use and as my 'public' facing email. However, my Apple ID is the hotmail.com address, while Messages, and contact emails and notices from Apple are all sent to the gmail.com address as the 'public' address. I simply 'unchecked' the hotmail.com email as one where I want Messages, etc sent. The only time I ever even have to remember this email address is when I type it as my Apple ID.

A suggestion is to create a secondary email account for your son to use for the on-boarding process, then add his 'real' email to the Apple ID preferences. I would suggest he keep this secondary email but there is no reason to use it. If he has a school email address, this might be a good one to use for the Apple ID, but then his personal email becomes the one that is 'public'.

  • Perhaps I'm misunderstanding this post, but if your Gmail is your public facing email, why not change your Apple ID email from Hotmail to Gmail?
    – grg
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 8:31
  • @grg: Apple forces your Apple ID to be in the format of an email address. What email address that is has no bearing on your Apple ID...it can be anything...as long as you can get the one email Apple will send to that email address when you register your Apple ID. Someday perhaps Apple will change this so your Apple ID can be any name or character string you wish, then it would be more clear.
    – cmason
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 13:06

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