Posted on June 8th, 2020
In my latest book, Extreme Privacy: Second Edition, I explained how I used the web version of the Apple ID creation process through a Safari browser in order to avoid providing a true cellular number. A few readers report that Apple is now demanding a cellular telephone number during any registration process. I have confirmed this once, but it does not always seem to be the case. They appear to accept a landline number but no VOIP options. I have modified page 19 of the new book with the following:
“I create new Apple accounts from within each phone through the prompts presented after initial boot. You can typically delay the Apple ID requirement during the first setup screen, but an account is required in order to download any apps. I provide a generic name, forwarding email account, hotel address, and secure password generated by my password manager (more details on all of this later). If forced to provide a telephone number, I supply the number assigned through the carrier to the device. This may seem reckless, but Apple collects this data from the device regardless. In a moment, I explain my preferred pre-paid cellular provider (Mint Mobile), which can be purchased without providing a true name. The SIM can be activated online if you are unable to install the app due to the lack of an Apple ID account. You will need internet access via Wi-Fi during both processes. I prefer to use public Wi-Fi without a VPN in order to avoid fraud triggers. Conducting all of the setup processes while connected to open Wi-Fi at an Apple store parking lot is ideal. If you plan to purchase apps, obtain a prepaid iTunes gift card with cash from a grocery store. This is usually not necessary because you should possess minimal applications and only those absolutely required.”
Summary (iPhones): I now provide the cell number associated with the device to the Apple ID account, and allow it to be used for Apple’s 2FA. It will be collected and attached to the Apple profile anyway. This is why an anonymous cell plan is so important. I never create an Apple ID for any Apple laptop/desktop computers. An account is not required unless you want to use the App Store, which I never recommend.
The following text was modified on page 50 in regard to Apple ID for non-phones:
“When you create an Apple ID through traditional methods such as the MacOS installation screen, Apple is very likely to demand a cellular telephone number as part of the process. They will also send a verification text to that number which must be entered to complete the registration. When registering online through their website, Apple usually offers an option to enter a landline number in lieu of a cell. This could be a direct line at a hotel, library, or other public building. A public number should only be used for an Apple laptop, desktop, or iPod Touch, and should never be used as part of Apple’s two-factor authentication. You should only use this method when you will never need to access to the number after the initial verification. I do not like that Apple is demanding telephone numbers in order to use their products, but it is the reality in which we live.”
Summary (macOS): I encourage clients to avoid creating an Apple ID for any computer unless it is absolutely necessary in order to use a specific software application.