Q: I have an iPhone and my kids each have an iPod touch. I originally set up all three devices to use the same Apple ID. Now I want to change that so our e-mails and contacts are not synched, among other reasons. How can I change the Apple ID on the iPod touches without changing my Apple ID on my iPhone?
A: Basically it sounds like what you need to do here is simply to configure your kids’ iPod touch devices to use a different iCloud account from the one you are using on your iPhone.
You can easily change the Apple ID used for iCloud on any iOS device simply by going into the iCloud section in the Settings app and tapping the Delete Account button at the bottom of that screen.
This will remove the iCloud account from that device along with all data stored for that account: Mail, Notes, Passbook items, Photo Streams and Documents and Data will automatically be removed; for Calendars, Contacts, Reminders and Safari data (bookmarks and reading list) you will be given the choice to either keep a local, non-synced copy on your device or remove it as well. The device will also be unregistered from using Apple’s Find my… feature and will no longer make any new backups to that iCloud account, although the previous iCloud backup will be retained.
Once you’ve done this, you can then proceed to sign in with a different Apple ID for iCloud or even create a new one directly from your device. A new account will start with its own free 5GB of iCloud storage and an empty slate. If you chose to keep your calendars, contacts, reminders and Safari data when you deleted the original iCloud account you will be given the option to merge that data with the new iCloud account, otherwise you’re basically starting from scratch in terms of that data.
Note that you don’t need to change anything on your iPhone—you can keep using the same Apple ID for iCloud there and none of these changes on the iPod touches will affect the data on your iPhone; it will simply no longer be shared among your kids’ devices.
If you do want to share certain items between iCloud accounts, such as using a common Photo Stream, it is possible to set this up simply by using multiple iCloud accounts on each device—one for the shared, “family” information, and another for each user’s personal information. See Sharing iTunes & iCloud Accounts in a Family for more information on how to do this.
Note also that none of this affects the Apple IDs used for other services on your iPhone or your kids’ iPod touch devices. Features such as iMessage, FaceTime, Game Center and iTunes can use a different Apple ID, so you can continue sharing a single Apple ID or switch your kids over to using their new iCloud Apple ID for any of those features that you don’t want to share. For example, it is generally a good idea for each person to have their own Apple ID for things like iMessage and FaceTime, but often several members in a family will use the same Apple ID for the iTunes Store in order to share purchased content or an iTunes Match subscription. See our Guide to FaceTime + iMessage for more suggestions on how to set this up in terms of those particular services.