FaceTime and iMessage not accepting Apple ID password

Q: I am having problems getting onto FaceTime and iMessage as neither service will accept my password. The password works fine for purchasing apps and I have even tried resetting my password, but still FaceTime says it is incorrect. Any help would be appreciated.

– Michael

A: If you’ve had an Apple ID for a long time, chances are that it is still formatted in the older, username-style format (e.g. “jhollington”).

Back in 2010 Apple began requiring e-mail addresses to be used for creating new Apple ID’s, although users with the older style were permitted to keep their existing Apple IDs rather than being automatically required to change them.

Unfortunately, however, both FaceTime and iMessage require an Apple ID that is in the new format—an e-mail address. Although Apple has been trying to encourage users to convert to the newer e-mail address usernames, it has not chosen to force the issue outright for anything other than newer services. As a result, many long-time iTunes users don’t encounter this issue until the first time they attempt to log into a newer service like iCloud, FaceTime or iMessage.

If you’re still using a username as your Apple ID rather than your e-mail address, you can easily change it by going to http://appleid.apple.com.

Changing your username to an e-mail address will not affect any existing content you have purchased or downloaded from iTunes with the Apple ID—only the login name changes, which is what you will need to use in the future with iTunes or any other Apple online services. Note that your actual iTunes purchases stored in your library will still show your older username, rather than the new e-mail address, however this is entirely a cosmetic issue and does not affect your ability to use any protected content in your iTunes library.

Alternatively, if there is some reason you do not want to change your existing Apple ID, you can just as easily sign up for a new Apple ID exclusively for FaceTime and iMessage. There is no requirement that you use the same Apple ID for these services as you do for your iTunes Store account, and in fact you could even use completely different Apple IDs between FaceTime and iMessage. Keep in mind, however, that a given e-mail address can only be associated with one Apple ID at a time, so if you’re already using your preferred FaceTime/iMessage e-mail address on your original Apple ID, you will not be able to assign it to a new one without removing it from the original one first.