In the Security section of my Apple ID account page (https://appleid.apple.com/account/manage), I have a “Trusted phone number”. The help text says:

Trusted phone numbers are used [...] to recover your account if you lose access.

However, I don’t want my account to be recoverable using a phone number, because phone numbers aren’t secure.

I have two-factor authentication turned on, and I have several Apple devices that support it. I have my two-factor recovery key saved in a password manager that’s backed up in several places. In short, I’m happy that I’ll be able to recover my account if required, without a trusted phone number.

I’ve seen guides showing how to remove trusted phone numbers when more than one is attached to the account (you click the little cross next to the phone number). But I only have one trusted phone number, and there’s no cross next to it.

How can I turn off the ability to access my Apple ID account using a “trusted” phone number?

1 Answer 1


As far as I can tell, you can’t.

Aside from the web interface, you can also manage your Apple ID in System Preferences on macOS, and Settings on iOS.

When I try to remove my trusted phone number on macOS (System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details > Security), I’m told that I have to have at least one verified trusted phone number on the Apple ID, even though I have Recovery Key turned on.

  • 1
    I wonder if you have to contact Apple to opt out of that phone number or see if some combination of enabling or disabling TFA would help.
    – bmike
    Apr 3, 2018 at 11:11
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    Yeah I did wonder whether disabling two-factor authentication might do it, although that’s not an option for all users (see “Can I turn off two-factor authentication after I’ve turned it on?”). I get that having a trusted phone number is probably the right security/convenience for most users, but for people who are more likely to be targeted by hackers (and for paranoid nut-jobs like myself), it feels like we should be able to choose not to have SMS be a route into our accounts. Apr 3, 2018 at 11:14
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    There's nothing preventing you from putting in a number that has no SMS. Maybe your lawyer's main line and have them send a letter to Apple saying "you'd like that removed, please and understand if you lose access to your account, you won't be able to get it back." At some point, this is about your threat model - eventually someone is going to get in to your account with enough money or time or luck if they persist.
    – bmike
    Apr 3, 2018 at 11:22
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    “There's nothing preventing you from putting in a number that has no SMS” — I believe they require the number to be verified, and I think that requires the number to be able to receive SMS or phone calls. “At some point, this is about your threat model” — yup, I get that. But phone numbers are, I think, notably less secure than other mechanisms. Apr 3, 2018 at 12:39

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