I got a MacBook that a colleague of mine had used previously. It runs OS X 10.10.2. I created a new administrator account for myself and turned off the "admin" flag on the old account.

I also entered my iCloud / Apple ID account, so that it syncs my calendars and contacts correctly, and even in the App Store, I am signed in with my correct account.

But when I try to install pending software updates (that is, OS X system updates!), the window that pops up has the the e-mail address of my colleague filled in and greyed out—and I can't change it.

Note that I'm signed in with a different (correct) account in the App Store. When I go to Featured and click Account on the right, it has my correct e-mail address filled in:

How do I make the App Store "forget" the old Apple ID?

I found a thread where it just says "it's not possible", and that apps are glued to the original account the Mac was set up with, but that doesn't make a lot of sense, especially in a company where laptops may be handed over from one person to another.


4 Answers 4


To delete the application from the Launchpad. Hold down the icon until they all jiggle and the (x) appears. Click that on the app you want to delete, then confirm.

If you do this while the App Store's Updates page is displaying the application, you can then just update!

If not, you will have to download it again. This might mean paying for it again. But if it's family plan eligible, it will show as needing to buy it and you'll have to confirm payment, but then it will inform you that it's family plan eligible and you'll get to download it again for free.

If going through this leaves the app missing from the Launchpad (it did for me one time), then drag the app to the trash (confirming with your password if necessary), wait 10 seconds, and drag it back (possibly confirming again). That should alert Launchpad to its presence.

I hope this helps people in the future. I wasted a lot of time figuring this out, and couldn't find a clue on the web.

  • Thank you. This mostly worked for me, except I couldn't update, I had to reinstall. If I had to do this with paid apps... dunno what my reaction would be. And... for folks saying "it's tied to the original ID"... Nope. this just has to be a bug. I was trying to update 'slack' app, and I've not used the apple ID it was forcing on me in 4 years - the slack app has only been out for ... 1 year? 2 years? This is a horrendously stupid bug (and/or poor UI - take your pick) that has likely lost thousands of hours for people over the years. :(
    – mgkimsal
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 14:17
  • This worked for me, I'm trying to avoid doing it with XCode but fear it will be the only solution. I wouldn't mind but this laptop has been mine since new so no multi-account rubbish to deal with. Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 8:17
  • This did not work for me on Catalina. Going to the Applications folder and deleting them from there worked. Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 23:05

It won't 'forget' the old ID as each download from the Mac App Store embeds the purchasing account. Those previous apps were purchased/downloaded for free on that ID & are only licensed to that ID.

The only way round is to either use that ID for those apps, delete and redownload each affected app one by one or to wipe the machine & start over being careful to not copy back apps from backup copies and only to use the new account in the store.

For corporate use, it would be far better to not purchase through the App Store, but to buy multi-seat licenses directly from the app creators.

  • I should have mentioned that these pending updates include OS X system software updates (security updates), not only purchased apps. I now removed the only purchased app from the Mac and I could successfully perform the update when canceling the password request. But I probably have to wait until the next security update to confirm if this is a long term solution.
    – slhck
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 9:07
  • The OS itself will also have been 'purchased' [even though it was free] through the App Store & is still tied to its original owner. That's why you should wipe & start over.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 9:08
  • 1
    Hm. And the owner cannot be transferred? For other apps it'd be simple enough to just re-install them, but with the complete OS, that's almost impossible to do without wasting hours of time.
    – slhck
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 9:19
  • You just have to work within the paradigm - Apple works the other way round to Microsoft in a lot of things. With MS if you move machine, you have to ring them to get things working again. Apple ties purchases to a user, not a machine, so changing machines is easy - changing owner is not.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 9:23

That OS X asks for the old apple id is probably because you didn't do a clean install.

You could make a backup of all your data with time machine and start your mac in recovery mode (press cmd+r) on startup. Here you can erease the hard drive and install os x again.

  • I never said I reinstalled OS X. I simply created a new user account. Tetsujin's answer basically gives the solution.
    – slhck
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 10:55
  • @slhck that's what i say: "because you didn't do a clean install"
    – Jules
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 10:58

my computer prompted me to update iphoto, but had my daughter's email/apple id and i couldn't change it. That version wasn't compatible with my 2016 MacBook pro 13, so i deleted it (the icon had a no smoking circle/slash over it). after that the App Store stopped prompting me to update the program.

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