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I changed my Apple ID password sometime in the last year. I don't really remember the password, since I use Touch ID almost exclusively. I wanted to enter the password on my computer, and could not get the password right, thus now I am locked out for 8 hours at a time.

I do not have my recovery key. Two-factor authentication is active.

So now I'm reduced to trying one possible password every 8 hours. I try once, get rejected, get put on an 8 hour freeze.

Is there any way to get out of this cycle? If I wait 48 hours (or something else), will I get a fresh crack at trying multiple passwords?

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  • Did you try iforgot.apple.com/password/verify/appleid ? – Nimesh Neema Aug 13 '18 at 2:01
  • Yes. Unless I am missing something? I go to that iforgot page, I enter my Apple ID, and it asks me for my Recovery Key. I do not have my Recovery Key. – Chris Aug 13 '18 at 2:09
  • How about getting the reset instructions via email? Or you can attempt to answer the security questions. – Nimesh Neema Aug 13 '18 at 2:11
  • I don't think any of this will work because I have two-factor authentication enabled. I know this is totally careless and my fault, just hoping for a chance to enter some possible passwords again. – Chris Aug 13 '18 at 2:12
  • Since you don't remember the password, this approach of random guess may not work. In fact it may do more harm. Your best bet will be to get reset instructions via email. (What doubts do you have with that approach?) – Nimesh Neema Aug 13 '18 at 2:14
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If you are being directed to enter a recovery key, your Apple ID uses Two-Step authentication, and not Two-Factor which doesn't require a recovery key.

If you lose your recovery key, you can create another one if you have a trusted device that is already signed into the account. Without access to another trusted device, and without knowing your recovery key, you will be unable to sign in and generate a replacement key. See the FAQs at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204152.

If you use your Apple ID to log into your computer (as it sounds like the OP does), in some cases you can remove the link between the local macOS account and the Apple ID so that you can sign into the Mac and regain access to all of your data. If you have a second Admin account, or if you are able to force the system to create a new one, then you will be able to manipulate your account to disconnect from Apple ID, and potentially create a new one, however your access to the existing Apple ID is lost if you can't provide the recovery key, and any data associated with the account will also remain unavailable. This is a particular problem if you have been using iCloud Drive to store your Desktop and Documents.

In this case, you will be better off contacting your local AppleCare support line to assist you to regain access to your system, as they are likely to have either tools or process which can assist you in this case.

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For your specific case, where you are using Two-Factor authentication and do not have access to the recovery keys, the instructions for resetting password are documented in the Apple support document, Recover your Apple ID when you can’t reset your password.

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  • Either this does not work or I am misunderstanding: 1. go to appleid.apple.com, click the "Forgot Username…" link. 2. It asks for my email. 3. The next screen asks for my Recovery Key. I click the "Don't Have your Recovery Key? Use a trusted device and your current password." link. 4. Sends a confirmation code to my phone. 5. Asks for my password and I can't go any further. This document, published Aug 9, 2018, says "If you permanently lost your Recovery Key or access to your trusted device, you can't change your password." support.apple.com/en-us/HT201487#twostep – Chris Aug 13 '18 at 14:00
  • @Chris Follow the instructions exactly as mentioned on this link: support.apple.com/en-in/HT201487#twofact – Nimesh Neema Aug 13 '18 at 14:02
  • Ok. I will go through it again. Maybe I am missing something but it never asks me for anything other than my recovery key or password. – Chris Aug 13 '18 at 14:36
  • @Chris It instructs you to reset password with the help of a trusted device where you are logged in, which happens to be true in your case. Resetting password via your iPhone as instructed in that link shouldn’t require access to the recovery key. – Nimesh Neema Aug 13 '18 at 14:39
  • I’m not sure what to say. I’m using my iPhone but it’s requiring a recovery key or password. – Chris Aug 13 '18 at 14:48

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