Getting an Apple ID even if you don't own Apple stuff

19 April 2016, 09:55

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A Mac Kung Fu reader recently asked if it was possible to sign-up to get an Apple ID if you don’t actually own any Apple products.

The answer is yes… but you probably wouldn’t want to, with perhaps one exception: If you want to use the Apple Music app on an Android phone.

Anybody can sign-up for an Apple ID by visiting https://appleid.apple.com and clicking Create Your Apple ID. There’s no requirement to have an Apple product to link the ID to, allowing anybody to create an account in preparation for purchasing – or even if you’re merely a curious Windows or Android fan.

Apple isn’t particularly generous. A free unlinked account provides limited access to the iCloud website in order to use the online versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote, and you’ll get 1GB of free iCloud storage to boot. However, aside from accessing this storage space from the aforementioned web-based apps, you can’t access it any other way – for example, via the iCloud Windows for Windows app – unless you first link the Apple ID to a Mac or iOS device by signing in there using it.

However, if you use the Apple Music app on Android then you can use it to sign-in there, and sign-up for a free trial of Apple Music. Notably, you’re not allowed to create a family Apple Music account. That’s limited to iOS devices, or Macs. An unlinked Apple ID can be added to an existing family account, though.

As far as we know, aside from the two instances mentioned above (Apple Music on Android, and the iCloud website) there isn’t any Apple service that doesn’t somehow require Apple hardware. You can’t watch iTunes movies via a web browser, for example.

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