Changing Apple IDs on an iPad

Q: I recently got an iPad 2 and I want to set it up under my own e-mail address so it will be easier when iCloud comes out. I currently have a second-generation iPod touch, and the problem is that my parents set up my iPod touch under their Apple ID. Now I want to set it up under my own Apple ID. How can I transfer all of my existing apps to my iPad under my new Apple ID?

– Connor

A: Unfortunately, you can’t actually change the Apple ID that was used to purchase existing apps except by re-purchasing them again under a new Apple ID.

However, the good news is that this doesn’t really matter in terms of iCloud or any of the other settings on your iPad or even your iPod touch. You can sync apps and other content purchased from more than one Apple ID onto your device, provided it’s either downloaded from a computer that’s been authorized for that Apple ID or you’ve simply purchased it directly on the device itself. Therefore, you can keep your existing apps under your parents’ Apple ID and then download or purchase any additional apps that you want under your own.

It’s also worth noting that the Apple ID used for some or all of the apps on your iPad does not have to be the same as the Apple ID you use for other features such as FaceTime, and quite likely the same holds true for other upcoming features such as iCloud and iMessage.

The only real issue you’re going to run into with apps purchased from a prior Apple ID is limitations on the “iTunes in the Cloud” service, which allows you to easily re-download apps, music and books from the iTunes Store. To re-download apps that were purchased with your parents’ Apple ID, you will need to temporarily switch to that Apple ID using the “Store” preferences on your device. Further, if you’ve purchased books and/or music with more than one Apple ID, you’ll have to choose carefully which ID you’re going to use for the iTunes in the Cloud feature, as you will only be able to switch it every 90 days. Note that this restriction does not apply to apps, however—only music and books are affected.