When trying to change the account or accounts associated with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac that has Screen Time enabled with a passcode—ostensibly for a child—you will find that the Sign Out option is grayed out. That’s true in System Preferences in macOS and individual apps, and in Settings > account name > Sign Out and Settings > Media & Purchases in iOS and iPadOS.
The simple solution can be a little difficult to find, because there’s no prompt or information about why it’s grayed out. It’s unavailable to prevent a device locked down by Screen Time restrictions from evading them by signing out of the associated Apple ID.
This may seem non-obvious if you are trying to change the account associated with media and purchases—as many people use a secondary account for that—instead of the Apple ID used for iCloud that’s associated with a Family Sharing group or for which you’ve set controls that are synced among a kid’s devices.
In either case, or if there’s a single Apple ID, disable Screen Time for the person in question. For instance, with Family Sharing and an iPhone, go to Settings > account name > Family Sharing > Screen Time > child’s name and tap Turn Off Screen Time. Then Sign Out of the Apple ID, make any changes, and sign back in or with a different account. Now, re-enable Screen Time for that person.
This is an annoying way to solve the problem, because it disables all the Screen Time settings, which have to be re-created when it’s re-enabled. It would be nice if Apple allowed you to store a template of Screen Time settings or create a profile that could be loaded.
This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Benjamin.
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author of dozens of books. His most recent, updated for iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and Big Sur, are Take Control of iOS and iPadOS Privacy and Security
, Take Control of Your Apple ID, Second Edition
, and Take Control of Wireless Networking and Security
. He’s a senior contributor to Macworld
, where he writes Mac 911.