How to Delete an iCloud Account from an iPhone / iPad
For those of us who juggle between multiple iCloud accounts (which is really not recommended), you may need to remove an iCloud account associated with an iPhone or iPad some times. This is typically for situations where you need to swap in a different account, create a new iCloud login for some reason, or just change to another existent iCloud account that is better suited for a device. While iOS makes this process easy, but be sure you know why you would want to do this, otherwise you may encounter unanticipated problems.
Again, this is not recommended unless you know exactly why you’re deleting the iCloud account from your device. A single user with multiple iCloud and Apple ID’s is rarely a good idea. Doing this without reason can cause a variety of complications and errors, ranging from improper or missing iMessage delivery, loss of data syncing, inability to retrieve apps that are associated with an Apple ID and App Store account, the removal of expected iCloud backups, and even loss of files and iCloud data. In short, do not change your iCloud ID or remove your iCloud account from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, unless you know exactly why you’re doing it and you understand the potential complications.
It’s a good idea to back up your iPhone / iPad before doing this just in case you mess something up.
Removing the Existing iCloud Account from iOS
First you’ll need to remove the existing iCloud account that is in use on the iOS device:
- Open the Settings app and go to “iCloud”
- Scroll down under all the settings to find “Delete Account” (or “Sign Out”) and tap on that
- Confirm the removal of the iCloud account from the device by tapping on “Delete” or “Sign Out”
Note that the newest version of iOS uses “Sign Out” in the iCloud settings panel, whereas the immediately prior versions use “Delete Account” – the effect is identical, it’s just a change of wording. Both will log out of the iCloud ID account on the iPhone or iPad.
Note this removes all documents that are from iCloud from the phone or iPad, but not from iCloud itself. Whether or not you want to save contacts and calendar data is up to you.
Once the iCloud account has been removed from the device, you’re left with a blank iCloud login. Here you can either create a new Apple ID and accompanying iCloud account, or change to another iCloud account.
Switching to a Different iCloud Account in iOS
This effectively lets you change between iCloud accounts on any iOS device. Again, this is not a recommended procedure without knowing why you want to do this, since it can lead to a variety of problems. Note if you already changed an Apple Store ID to the proper ID, this is unnecessary as the setting will carry over.
- Follow the above steps to remove the existing iCloud account from the iOS device
- Enter the new / different iCloud Account credentials and log in as usual by tapping “Sign In”
- Choose the iCloud settings to use with the new account ID
That’s it, the iCloud account associated with the iOS device has been switched.
Both of these tricks is helpful for when you erroneously use a single iCloud account for situations where different ones would be better, for example, using a single iCloud ID on spouses or kids unique iPhones – those are best served with individual iCloud accounts for each device. For your own personal devices, always try to use a single iCloud account and Apple ID, this insures continuity of app and iTunes purchases, and proper syncing of your files and data.
While this can remove iCloud and all related services from a device, this is not a replacement for resetting an iPhone to factory settings, which completely clears out all data and basically performs a fresh iOS installation. Obviously reseting everything isn’t going to be necessary if you simply need to change the login though, so use which is appropriate for the given situation.