The concept of an Apple ID has its roots as far back as iTunes when Apple introduced a login feature to access its services. However, Apple ID has now become such a central part of the Apple experience that you can get much less value from your Mac without it.
If you have concerns about privacy or security when using your Mac with an Apple ID, and you think the risk isn’t worth signing in to your new Mac, we’ve put together reasons why the benefits of using an Apple ID far outweighs the risks.
1. Easier setup and configuration
Apple designed Apple ID to store certain preferences and sync them across all your devices. If you own an iPad, iPhone, or other Apple device with access to iCloud, you don’t need to worry about configuring any preferences like your notification settings. Thanks to the iCloud Keychain feature, you can also have all your passwords and sensitive information synchronized and safely protected on your Mac.
Your Apple ID also syncs specific app preferences like the layout and arrangement of Mail, Calendar, and Music—it even adds all your contacts from your phone to the Contacts app on your Mac. If you’ve used an Apple ID on another Mac, it can also access personalization features like screensavers and wallpapers.
These features can save you a lot of personalization time and get you using your Mac much faster than manually changing them, as you would if you weren’t using an Apple ID.
2. Access to iCloud and its features
iCloud is Apple’s own cloud storage solution for users. Each user gets 5GB of free data, but you can upgrade your iCloud storage to 50GB for $0.99/month, 200GB for $2.99/month, or 2TB for $9.99/month.
At its core, iCloud’s purpose is to back up your data in case of loss or simply for easier access. However, it packs many other important security features such as Private Relay and Hide My Email.
With Private Relay, Apple reduces users’ digital footprint by routing internet traffic through two separate servers. The first server randomizes your IP address and the second encrypts it, making it difficult for third parties to track your online activity.
Hide My Email also improves online security by assigning your iCloud email a random alternate email address that it can use to mask your real email address. This can protect your information while allowing you to access online services that are kept behind data collectors.
Finally, iCloud encrypts your data in transit and storage, meaning that intercepted data isn’t even accessible. It also protects your devices and information with two-factor authentication, verifying your authority through verification codes on your other Apple devices.
So if security was your concern for not using an Apple ID, this should encourage you to rethink that idea.
3. Unlocks App Store purchases
Your Apple ID also gives you access to Apple’s vast inventory of apps on the App Store. While you can download many of these apps directly from the publisher’s website, some remain exclusive to the App Store.
If you’re also a fan of simple but fun games, you can take advantage of Apple Arcade and enjoy a well-chosen selection of interactive entertainment. Jump right into it by checking out our guide on how to get started playing games with Apple Arcade.
However, it does not end there. Thanks to Apple’s silicon ARM-based architecture, you can also download iPad and iPhone apps on your Mac via the App Store. You can’t do this on an Intel Mac; this feature is exclusive to newer Macs with M-series chips.
Now, with your Apple ID, you only need to pay for an app once and access its features on all your devices that support it. You can also share App Store purchases with your family through Family Sharing, allowing up to six people to access with a single payment.
Finally, the App Store will make updates much easier, saving you the trouble of manually downloading the latest version from the publisher’s website. You can choose to keep all your apps automatically updated through the App Store.
4. Access to Apple continuity features
Another big sacrifice you can make if you choose to use your Mac without an Apple ID is losing access to Apple’s Continuity features, especially if you own other Apple devices like an iPhone or iPad.
For example, Handoff lets you continue certain tasks exactly as you left them on another Apple device. And thanks to Universal Clipboard, you can copy content on your iPhone or iPad and paste it on your Mac.
Another good example would be Continuity Camera, which allows you to seamlessly use your iPhone as a high-quality webcam for your Mac. Likewise, if you’re using an Apple Watch, you can use it to sign in to your Mac without any problems.
iPad users can take advantage of Universal Control, which lets them use their Mac’s keyboard and trackpad to control their tablet. Or they can use Sidecar to extend the Mac display with the iPad as an additional display.
Apple offers many more cool Continuity features, and we’ll go on and on about them, but remember that you can unlock everything by signing in to your Mac with an Apple ID.
5. Use Find My to locate your Mac
Losing your laptop is scary, but logging into your MacBook with an Apple ID can help reduce that fear. If you set up Find My on your Mac, you can find your MacBook with your iPhone, iPad, or even a Windows or Android device, using iCloud online.
Apple’s Find My service relies on Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS to identify where your Mac is on the map. And with the Find My app, you can play a sound to help you find it if it’s nearby, put it in Lost Mode if it’s not nearby, or completely erase your Mac to protect your personal data .
6. iMessage and FaceTime
iMessage and FaceTime are Apple’s (and arguably one of the world’s) most popular communication apps, thanks to the iPhone. You can now use this communication network on your Mac by logging in with your Apple ID
Although non-Apple devices can now join FaceTime calls, you still need an Apple device and an Apple ID to host the calls and generate links. Without an Apple ID, the FaceTime and Messages apps on your Mac would just look blank.
Get the best Mac experience with an Apple ID
The only argument anyone might have had against Apple ID is the potential for your data or information to be stolen. However, Apple, as a company, has prioritized security and privacy so much that this point has become zero.
With many privacy, security, productivity and quality of life features associated with an Apple ID, it’s too much of a waste to have a Mac—you use every day for work or play—that isn’t connected to Apple’s servers.