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How to tell if an Update Apple ID Settings message is legit

Friday June 24, 2022. 12:00 PM , from Mac 911
For reasons best known only to Apple, you may see a message from time to time or even frequently that says:

Update Apple ID Settings. Some account services require you to sign in again.

Macworld Editor Karen Haslam offers extensive troubleshooting for this problem, with an update in January 2022 due to a spate of people seeing the message during an outage of Apple’s iCloud servers.

However, beyond fixing the problem Apple identifies, readers ask if the message is legitimate because it resembles exactly the sort of phishing message they’ve been warned about for many years. The prompt often appears in the middle of another activity and displays a message that asks you to enter your password!

It is intentional on Apple’s part, but you can make sure what you’re seeing is a message from Apple with a few tests:

In iOS/iPadOS, do you see it in an app other than Safari or Mail (or another browser or email app)? Because HTML can be used to mock up the general appearance of an iOS/iPadOS dialog, I would exercise skepticism.In macOS, are you seeing it outside the Notifications area? When you hide and show notifications does it re-appear?For the highest level of confirmation, open Settings > your name > iCloud in iOS/iPadOS or System Preferences > Apple ID or click iCloud in macOS 10.15 Catalina or later. (In 10.14 Mojave or earlier, go to System Preferences > iCloud.)

You should see a line item with similar text, such as “Update Apple ID settings” or a pop-up message in any of those locations. If so, re-enter your Apple ID password.

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

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