I don't use any Apple apps (iBooks, iTunes, iCloud etc). I just need to create an Apple ID to download and install macOS updates.


If you're just installing and updating the OS, there's no real limit to how many Macs you can use the same Apple ID for. In fact, the Apple ID is needed only for downloading the OS installer app. Once you've downloaded the installer app, you can copy it to as many Macs as you want, or create a bootable installer disk from it and use that to install onto multiple Macs, or even set up one Mac as a Server, and serve a NetInstall image over the local network.

Updates to the OS are similarly unrestricted; you can install OS updates in the App Store application without any Apple ID, or download updates from support.apple.com/downloads and install them by hand. Note: an Apple ID is needed for purchased apps, but updates to the base OS and included apps (iTunes, Safari, etc) don't require one.


You can use a single Apple ID to log into a maximum of ten devices at a time (no more than five of them can be Mac).

For more information, you can refer to the Apple Support article, View and remove your associated devices in iTunes.

  • Is there any workaround? – goodfellas95 Mar 26 '18 at 20:51
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    How many Macs do you wish to associate with a single Apple ID? – Nimesh Neema Mar 26 '18 at 20:53
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    Between 50-100 in the coming year. – goodfellas95 Mar 26 '18 at 20:54
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    Since you mentioned that you won't be using any other Apple services, one recommended approach could be to not manage the Macs under a single Apple ID. If all you need to do is to install macOS and its updates, you can download the installer from the Mac App Store onto a single machine, and copy it around on all the other Macs and run it there. That would also save you the trouble of repeated downloads and setting up a caching server. – Nimesh Neema Mar 26 '18 at 20:58
  • These device limits apply only to certain iTunes features, mostly having to do with purchased music. They do not apply to the operating system itself, nor even to purchased apps. See this section of the support document. – Gordon Davisson Mar 27 '18 at 1:30

It is possible to download the installer from the App Store and you won't be asked for an Apple ID. As far as I can tell, the App Store will ask for Apple ID as soon as you try to download anything else, even if it's free.

  • those two things are conflicting.. did you mean developer website ? – anki Sep 19 '19 at 22:32

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