Thursday, October 09, 2008

Apple's identity and account system is screwed up. Again.

I wrote about Apple's horked account ID system last July:
Gordon's Tech: Apple's messed up Apple ID system: what are they smoking?!

... For years, even after I gave up on .Mac, my Apple ID was That's what my iTunes account and all my iTunes purchases are tied to.

Now, however, iTunes won't let me buy anything because my "email is invalid".

Turns out, somewhere in the bowels of Apple's increasingly messed up corporation, there's a requirement that the AppleID, to which all my transactions are bound, needs to be also my valid email address.

So, should I change it? I have a bad feeling about what would happen then....

Update: I found a link to Apple's Profile service, where you can change the email associated with your Apple ID.

You can't do this from the iTunes store itself -- even though iTunes kept sending me back to the account view.

After I updated the email stored in the profile service, I returned to the Apple store, and AGAIN I got the notice about a bad email address. This time, however, the account link showed a page with a NEW field in addition to my non-editable account -- one holding my updated email address. I clicked done and this time I got a notice that my Apple account had been created! Despite that ominous language my purchase history was intact, the account was not created, it was updated.

After all of that I was able to buy "Voice Record" for my iPhone...
Since that screw-up I've been able to purchase quite a few Apple Store items. Today, though, when I tried to make a purchase through my iPhone, I got the same "bad email" message.

When I visit my Apple account via iTunes I see ...

So now my Apple ID field is editable.

So if I change it, what happens to all of my music and software and Apple Store records tied to that Apple ID?

Yeah. I bet they all vanish.

Apple has an FAQ page that sort of suggests that you can have multiple email addresses/Apple IDs all tied to the same account. On the other hand they also say:
... Even after your MobileMe account expires, you can continue to sign in and purchase music using your old MobileMe account name and password. You should specify a new email address in My Info, though, so you can continue to receive your invoices from iTunes...

Long odds they have at least two systems for managing identities and purchases, and they aren't reconciled.


So I try There I find the email address I'd entered in July is gone! The email has reverted back to There I also find I can't edit my Apple ID. Apple warns me: "You cannot change this Apple ID because it is tied to a MobileMe account
and/or an iChat ID.".

Obviously isn't tied to a MobileMe account and I've never used it for iChat, so, yes, Apple is kind of messed up.

Continuing on, I'll change my email. Again. It seems to work. Again.

On a hunch, I sign out of iTunes and try signing in with my newly valid email address. That doesn't work. So what does iTunes show now?

Again two lines, and again there are "errors and omissions" -- except there aren't any on my side. Just Apple's errors and omissions.

Damn it.

Update 3/4/09: Now iTunes again has me with two identies, and I'm seeing some odd behavior with iPhone updates. Apple's screwing up again.

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