Shared Apple ID and switching away from iPhone


Q: My wife and I each have iPhone 4 devices. Both of our phones use my Apple ID for updates. I have chosen to turn off the ability in my phone to see her texts; however she has chosen to keep the ability to see my texts on her phone. It’s not an issue between us. I’m thinking of getting a non-Apple phone, so will she still be able to get my texts on her
phone if we have different devices??

My first thought is “no”, but I’m curious what happens to my Apple ID if I don’t have an iPhone associated with it anymore. Does she need to create her own Apple ID for updates and such?

– Brad

A: You are correct that if you switch to a non-iPhone device, your wife will no longer see any of your texts, since this is a function of iMessage. In fact, even now, your wife only sees messages that are exchanged between you and other iOS device users using Apple’s iMessage service—these conversations are shown in blue in your Messages app. Traditional SMS messages—the green conversations—do not travel through Apple’s iMessage service but are sent directly via your carrier network. These conversations will not appear on your wife’s iPhone even now.

When you switch away from an iPhone, you’ll basically be back to using traditional SMS messages for all of your communications, since non-Apple devices naturally don’t support iMessage. Note that if you’re keeping the same phone number on your new device, you will need to turn iMessage OFF on your iPhone under Settings, Messages before deactivating it. This will ensure that your phone number is de-registered from Apple’s servers; if you do not do this, then any of your friends using iPhones will still use iMessage to send to you by default, since your phone number would still be registered for that service, and as a result these messages would not be received on your new phone.

As for the Apple ID itself, this is not directly associated with your phone, regardless of where you created it. Your wife can simply continue using it, and in fact will need to do so if she wants to receive updates for any apps purchased under that account, since a new App Store account will not have your existing purchase history.

Your wife can choose to create her own Apple ID for use with things like iMessage and FaceTime, but again there isn’t really a need to do so. She can continue using it, and as long as you’ve de-registered your device from iMessage she should no longer see your phone number listed under her Messages settings; she can manually deselect or remove any email addresses belonging to you or keep them configured, depending on your preference, since you won’t be able to receive iMessages sent to email addresses on your new phone anyway.

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Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.