Yes, but what’s the
SECRET secret password?

This tip is for Mac owners still running older devices and older (pre-Sierra) versions of the operating system.

A couple days ago, I had a client bring in a 2008 MacBook Pro running El Capitan, for me to move her files onto a brand new MacBook Air.

As I usually do, I asked her for the passwords I needed to do the transfer, then tried them out while she was still in the shop to make sure they all worked.

She mentioned that her Apple ID worked fine for the App Store, but her Mac wouldn’t accept it and kept asking for it. So we reset her password with the lost-password feature at icloud.com. Success.

Then, to make sure it was accepted everywhere in the Appleverse, I opened up iTunes, ran a pending version update, then asked for her account page. And that’s when I ran into some prime Apple weirdness.

When I typed in her Apple ID and password, it told me that the combination was incorrect.  But every time I did it, her phone would beep and say, “Someone is trying to use your Apple ID. Accept?” When she accepted, her phone would give her a six-digit authentication code… but of course there was no place to type it into the MacBook Pro because it had flatly rejected the password. 

Buffaloed, I called Apple.

The tech there had the correct answer right off the bat. Some older machines show this behavior, and there is a hack to get around it.

  1. Ask to login to your iTunes account.
  2. Get rejected.
  3. Hit accept on your iPhone and get the auth number (say, 987654).
  4. Now add this number to the end of the password you supply to iTunes. That is, if your Apple ID password is MyPassword, tell iTunes it is MyPassword987654.
  5. Apple should then let you log into your iTunes account.

You will have to do this every time you access iTunes on the old release until you upgrade to a newer OS. (Since she was moving up to a brand new Mac immediately, we didn’t need to pursue this further.)

Note that you may also need to use this trick in these situations to access your account at the App Store as well.

 
 

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