I have a couple of Apple accounts. Some are quite old (mac.com, me.com), some are new (icloud.com). I’d like to merge all these addresses into one account and delete the rest. Unfortunately this is not possible.

Note: Everything on this page is also applicable to old mac.com or me.com email addresses.

This post is about managing iCloud email addresses and iCloud email aliases. Moving personal data like emails, contacts, calendars notes, reminders, files, Safari bookmarks and photos is possible, but has to be done manually on a Mac. Third-party tools may help, but require the input and transmission of your Apple ID password to those third parties. This is a security risk and should never be done.

Don’t mistake your icloud.com email address with your Apple ID. It most likely is the same, but it doesn’t have to be and you can change this.

All possible changes to email address can be done while managing your Apple ID, while all changes to your iCloud email aliases have to be done on iCloud.com in Mail > Preferences (cogwheel) > Account.

Changing an iCloud Email Address

An icloud.com email address can never be changed. You can only create a new Apple account with your preferred icloud.com email address. If you create a new account, all data has to be transferred manually from the old to the new account and you lose all access to old purchases.

A solution to avoid losing access to your purchases could be to create an iCloud email alias (see below).

Merging an iCloud Email Address

You cannot merge an iCloud email address into another account, because this email address can’t be separated from the account.

Even after deleting the Apple account you cannot re-use this email address, because it was already taken (by yourself). Apple doesn’t release email addresses even after a long time like others do.

Moving an iCloud Email Address

You cannot move an iCloud email address to another account, because this email address can’t be separated from the account. Moving would also mean to delete the old email in the account the email is moved to which is not possible.

Even after deleting the Apple account you cannot re-use this email address, because it was already taken (by yourself). Apple doesn’t release email addresses even after a long time like others do.

Deleting an iCloud Email Address

You cannot delete an iCloud email address without deleting the Apple account it belongs to.

There may be very old accounts (mac.com or me.com), where your Apple ID is your self-chosen username. Then you might have a chance.

Deleting an iCloud email account wasn’t possible in the past, but has been made available by Apple in May of 2018 to support the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is mandatory for users in Europe, but Apple thankfully implemented those features for users world-wide.

Deleting an iCloud account would mean a user cannot login anymore and purchased items like movies, TV shows, eBooks and apps for iOS and macOS wouldn’t be accessible anymore as well. A deleted iCloud email address cannot be reused by anyone, even by yourself.

Changing an iCloud Email Alias

You can delete and re-create an iCloud email alias, but you have to use the same account to which the alias belongs to. Between deletion and recreation is a seven-day delay.

If you delete an old me.com or mac.com alias, it cannot be re-created. Only icloud.com aliases can be re-created.

Moving an iCloud Email Alias to a Different Account

Email aliases are forever tied to the account that created them. An alias cannot later be used to create a new iCloud account or transferred to another account.

Moving iCloud Data to a New Account

If you want to change accounts you have to manually move your iCloud data. There are many ways to do this and many places where the data is stored and accessed. So be careful to save and backup everything before you delete your old account. Apple has plenty of information on how to do this.

Device Limits for Creating iCloud Accounts

Each device can only create three iCloud accounts, after which you can only re-use one of the previously created accounts or create a new one on another iOS device or Mac (OS X Lion or newer).

Apple ID Email Adresses

Your Apple account has to have an email address used as a username to access it. Additionally, this account can have several email addresses like a primary, alternate, rescue or notification email address for your Apple ID.

Changing an Apple ID

In the past, Apple didn’t allow to switch your account ID (the username) from an Apple-supplied email address to one from another service provider like @gmail.com or one with your name in the domain name like @firstnamelastname.com. But now it’s possible to switch away from @icloud.com, @me.com, and @mac.com if you want to retire those addresses for example.

Changing away from @mac.com or @me.com addresses will keep those emails active as aliases, but they cannot be used as the Apple ID again. Changing away from an @icloud.com address doesn’t have any negative impact. The email is still active and can be reused as the Apple ID for this account.