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My iPhone (under iOS 12.1) informs me that I should "Update Apple ID Settings" for otherwise "Some account services will not be available until [I] sign in again."

When I launch Settings > Update Apple ID Settings iOS first promts me for my "Apple ID Password", then "iPhone Passcode", and then "Mac Password". The description for the last one reads: "Enter the password you use to unlock the Mac ...".

What password does this refer to? I hesitate to type in lots of passwords without better information on what's going on here. I do own both an iPhone and a MacBook and use the same Apple ID account on both.

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    I suggest you to call Apple Care about this strange request. This is either a bad user interface lacking the minimum information to trust it or a serious bug.[return] Your reaction is a pretty healthy one: never obey to anything asking you password or private information when you don't have sufficient evidence to trust it.
    – dan
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 14:50
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    ^^ @danielAzuelos I would agree, except from what I can tell, this password is being asked for in the official settings app. Given how locked down iOS is, it's hard to imagine the Settings app being hijacked somehow. Sounds safe. Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 15:33
  • Hi, you are right ! this part looks suspicious "Enter the password you use to unlock the Mac ...". on iPhone. Unless you have a Mac that is linked to iPhone. Do you ?
    – Ruskes
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 16:01
  • @Buscar Linked to iPhone in what way? What specific check do I have to perform for determining yes or no in the sense you are referring to?
    – rookie099
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 16:04
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    [bis] I suggest you to call Apple Care about this strange request. This is too serious a security problem as exposed. They will answer you even if you don't have any hardware problem under waranty.
    – dan
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 15:31

2 Answers 2

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You should ignore this and click cancel. This screen is an undocumented part of Apple's security practices (i.e. they don't mention it in their own documentation anywhere) and it exposes you to the risk that Apple will store, or could compromise (possibly resulting from a warrant/writ) your password for your local device.

This is documented further here https://privacylog.blogspot.com/2019/05/security-flaws-with-apples-two-factor.html

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    Apple really should, at a minimum, provide documentation for this process to legitimize it. Without official support it just seems fishy from a user perspective.
    – Jules
    Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 5:10
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So the mystery is now apparently solved. The 3rd password required (apparently) was the macOS user password of the account where I use the same Apple ID on my Mac.

This password was not accepted in the third verification step in my case (apparently) because I had used the same Apple ID (partly for testing purposes in relation to this very issue) with different user accounts on that Mac. This is clearly a corner case, because most Macs presumably only have single accounts installed.

The issue went away by choosing "Forgot Mac Password?" and then "Reset Encrypted Data" when iOS prompted for the 3rd password. The detailed description of the last steps reads as follows:

End-to-end encrypted data stored in iCloud will be permanently deleted. This may include Messages in iCloud, saved passwords and home data. Are you sure you want to continue?

I've been told that despite of this description what would be deleted is only credentials, and the fact that I can still see e.g. calendar items shared via iCloud on both my iPhone and Mac after performing this procedure seems to confirm this.

After this intervention, iOS no longer reminds me that I should "Update Apple ID Settings" and everything seems back to normal.

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  • After clicking "Forgot Mac Password?", the "Use other device" button allowed me to approve the request from my other Mac PC.
    – Shannon
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 17:04

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