My son had to have an iPad for school and we used his school email address when first setting it up. He started high school this year and we just left it all as it was until he got his first iPhone recently.

  • I changed his email address for iCloud via my laptop when I set up his phone but now we can't change it on his iPad.
  • We are stuck with the old email address.

I tried everything and I no longer have the credit card for verification and even though I remember my 'numbers'

  • I do not remember the cvv for the closed card.
  • We can't confirm the code that is sent to his school email address as he is no longer in primary school and they deleted his email account.

He doesn't want to lose all his photos, apps and game scores etc that we have backed up via iCloud and if I sign him out of iCloud on his iPad I am worried that will happen - even though I have changed his email via Apple when setting up his iphone.

I worry that everything will be lost on his iPad if I sign him out as we are on iOS 10.0.2.

I have read many questions and answers similar which say that iCloud should not want verification via the old email address - but it does. We also can't remember the old security questions and answers and cannot find where I wrote them all down! I cannot turn off find my iPad due to apple not recognising the old password that we know is correct for the old email associated with his account on his iPad. I am stuck and have tried everything.....

Have we missed any obvious steps to recover this account?

  • Go here and try entering the email address from the old Apple ID. Does it say there's still an Apple ID associated with that email address?
    – tubedogg
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 1:01
  • No, it says it is not an Apple ID. When I got him his iPhone I logged into his Apple account with his old email address via my laptop and added his new email and deleted the original email address associated with his account initially. So his iPhone has the right email bit his iPad has the original one. I should have researched more before I changed it all. Thank you for replying. Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 5:17

2 Answers 2


Before you do anything, make a backup of the iPad to a computer if you can.

Also, convincing a school or company to reinstate an email for long enough to recover an account is often doable with patience and some cookies or a pie to the person that’s inconvenienced or needs to approve such a request.

That being said, In my experience @books453 is right and iOS asks what you want to do with photos and other iCloud data when you sign out: so you should be able to remove them from the device or leave them there as long as you aren’t wiping the device.

Since they remain on a device you control, you are able to add to a new iCloud account when you sign in with it. However, I don't know whether this applies to data stored in apps and games, such as game scores.

When you say I changed his email address for iCloud via my laptop when I set up his phone, it sounds like you actually created a new iCloud account for him. If you had in fact changed the email address associated with his iCloud account then I don't think Apple would still be sending confirmation emails to the old email address, as you say many other people have already told you (sorry to repeat it!). To verify whether the new email address is attached to his old iCloud account, log in to http://icloud.com/ with the new email address and see whether the photos and other data from the iPad are are available there - if they are, I would be confident that the replacement of the email address has worked and therefore it should be safe to sign out of the old address and sign in to the new address.

If this was my device and data, I would make an appointment with the Genius Bar at a time when the Apple store won't be busy and ask them to walk through the process with me. Your son's new iPhone should entitle him to at least one session of personal setup assistance and technical support. And don't accept what the first Genius tells you if it's not what you want - get a second opinion, as this is a tricky case that not all staff may be familiar with.


Sorry, I missed that in your question you mentioned you can't even sign out of Find my iPad, which is preventing you from signing out of iCloud even if you want to. I assume that when you tried to go through the process of signing out of iCloud, you eventually hit this prompt:

Prompt to turn off Find my iPad when signing out of iCloud

And based on the confirmation email I received after turning off Find my iPad, you may not even be able to restore or reactivate your iPad unless you can turn off Find my iPad first, which you can't because Apple isn't accepting the password for the old email address:

Confirmation email after turning off Find my iPad

Presumably this is part of Apple's anti-theft measures that try to make stolen iPhones and iPads useless.

Is there any chance you can visit an Apple Store? If not, I have found their on-line chat people to be very helpful. Does your iPad show up as a registered device under your son's new iCloud email address at https://supportprofile.apple.com/ ? If so, I would hope that Apple's support team would at least try to help you.

  • Thank you. I edited the email address via ICloud on my laptop and his iPhone is fine and linked to his account - but the iPad is still linked with the old email. I think I will try to sign him out as it's the same account with a new email address... Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 5:20
  • Thank you. When I click on the link you provided it comes up with do I want to set up iCloud on this device etc or check to see if the device is locked. I click on that and enter the serial number and it comes up that the Activation Lock is on. Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 5:26
  • Given your comment above it sounds like the addition of the new email address and removal of the old email address from your son's iCloud account has been successful. Did you see his photos in the iCloud web site? The activation lock issue may be resolved when you sign in to iCloud with the new email address on the iPad. I would still try to make a backup of the iPad with iTunes on your laptop if you can, but it sounds like signing out of iCloud on the iPad and signing back in with the new email address should keep his data. Good luck and let us know how it goes! Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 5:32
  • Thank you also Kendall. I did an iPad backup last night so we are going to try to log out of iCloud and see what happens. We are missing over 1000 photos when I checked the files on my laptop. I logged into iCloud and there are only 1060 photos there and over 4000 on his iPad - so I think between both devices we have a majority of them and if some are lost - it's my fault. Will try logging out of iCloud on his iPad now and see what happens. You have all been amazing and I thank each of you for replying to this frustrated Mama! :) I will let you know the outcome. Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 7:54
  • Ah, I'd forgotten about needing the password to turn of Find my iPhone/iPad - I assume this was what prevented you from signing out of the old iCloud account? I've added a screenshot to my answer showing what I saw when I signed out on my iPad. Sorry I didn't think of that when I was advising you to log out and log back in :( Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 11:59

If you sign out of iCloud, the data stored on the device will still be there, and if it does want to delete something, it will ask you. You can always try backing up your ipad to iTunes to ensure there is no data loss. If none of this works, I recommend you contact apple support.

  • Thank you. I have tried to copy his photos to my iPad but can't log into iTunes via his iPad anymore. Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 5:18
  • Update: I can't even sign out of iCloud as the original email address comes up and it won't accept the password as that email address is no longer associated with his account. I think I will just do a full restore and start from scratch and put in the new updated email associated with my son's account. On my laptop when I sign to his Apple/iCloud account it says the iPad is connected - so I really don't know. I am pulling my hair out and do thank each and every one of you for the tips, input and help that you have tried to give me. I probably can't do a restore either lol! Cheers from Sonja Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 10:44

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