Your Apple ID – just works if it’s just right

English: An iPhone 4S on its setup screen.

Dive in and get started setting up your new iPhone, but which Apple ID do you use and where?

This week I helped a pal set up her new iPhone. At first there was quite a bit of confusion about which Apple ID to use and at some point on her own she ended up with 2 ID’s and somewhat frustrated. Maybe we should have just asked Siri for help, but this is how it all played out.

She had an Apple ID previously that she uses on her laptop but during the setup process she created a new ID which made the syncing of the phone in iTunes fail. The music purchases she had on the laptop would not copy to the phone because her ID was different on each.

Fortunately, this is not a permanent problem.

She “signed out” in the Store tab of the Settings app and then signed in with her existing Apple ID.

Don't fly blind with new technology. The designers didn't mean to make it that complicated.

Don’t fly blind with new technology. The designers didn’t mean to make it that complicated.

She is now happily using her original ID and phone with the same Apple ID.

The Apple ID dance is further complicated when you have a family with multiple devices. Graham Spenser wrote an article at on this topic when iOS 5 and iCloud launched. This article lays it all out in great detail. The comments are very good. One commenter warns about over complicating the process and he’s right. You may not need to create a spreadsheet to manage all of your devices, but like my friend experienced this week, if you don’t have a clear vision of the big picture, it’s easy to stumble through the setups and get really frustrated.

Before everything, “Just works,” it’s got to get setup just right.