How to set up an Apple ID without a payment method

What if you want an Apple ID but plan to never pay for a single thing from Apple through that ID? Apple makes that possible, though it’s not a highlighted method, since it’s frequently the case that you will pay Apple for a service or for software.

If you don’t have an Apple ID account or want to set up a fresh one

You can create an Apple ID via the App Store in both iOS/iPadOS and macOS.

In iOS and iPadOS:

  1. If you have an existing Apple ID account you don’t want to use, log out: go to Settings > account name > Media & Purchases and tap Sign Out.

  2. Launch the App Store.

  3. Find an app you can download at no cost. Such apps will have a Get button. Tap Get.

  4. The App Store prompts you for an Apple ID. Tap Create New Apple ID.

  5. When prompted for a payment method, select None.

  6. Follow the remaining steps to validate your account.

In macOS:

  1. Launch the App Store.

  2. If you have an existing Apple ID account you don’t want to use, choose Store > Sign Out.

  3. Find an app you can download at no cost. Such apps will have a Get button. Click Get.

  4. In the Apple ID dialog that appears, click Create Apple ID.

  5. Follow prompts. At the point where you’re asked for a payment method, select None.

  6. Follow the remaining steps to validate your account.

If you have an existing Apple ID

You can remove payment methods from existing Apple ID accounts in some cases. Apple requires a payment method on file if you are the family organizer for a Family Sharing group, and for accounts set up for children under 13.

In iOS and iPadOS:

  1. Go to Settings > account name > Payment & Shipping.
  2. Tap the Edit button.
  3. Tap the remove (minus in a red circle) button for each method.
  4. Tap Done.

In macOS:

  1. Launch the App Store.
  2. Choose Store > View My Account and then click View Information.
  3. Click Manage Payments.
  4. Click Edit next a payment method and click Remove. Repeat for each payment method.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Nancy.