Ask Adrian: Our technology editor tackles your trickiest tech problems
Question: I am not great with technology but bought an iPad Mini a few years ago and got help setting it up in a class. I have used it happily for several years until recently, when I was asked to confirm my Apple ID.
I had no idea what that was. It was not something I had been asked for previously. None of the email accounts I use were the Apple ID. I contacted Apple, told my story and gave them all the details requested, including serial numbers, proof of purchase and so forth.
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They stated that I should contact the person I bought it from. But I bought it off Tesco. Right now I have an iPad Mini that I can no longer use with lots of photos that are not backed up. What do you suggest? Surely when I buy a product for a not-inconsiderable sum of money, manufacturers cannot prevent me using it because of a forgotten ID?
Your thoughts would be appreciated.
- Maura, via email
This is not uncommon. A forgotten Apple ID is one of the most common problems that people face with things like iPad, MacBooks and iPhones.
It disproportionately affects people who aren't tech-savvy or are 'beginners'.
Typically, when you've forgotten your Apple ID, you're asked to input your name and email address. If you can't remember the email address you might have supplied at the time, this could be a significant problem.
There is one quick way of checking if you happen to have another Apple device, like an iPhone or an Apple MacBook. On an iPhone, you can go into your 'settings' and then 'Apple ID' and it should show you your Apple ID and primary email.
You can do the same in a number of ways on a Mac or MacBook, by going to the Apple menu, click 'system preferences' and then iCloud. Or in 'FaceTime' by choosing 'preferences' and 'settings'. Or by choosing iTunes, then 'account' and then 'view my account'.
There's a smaller number of ways to do the same on a PC, including opening iTunes (if you have it on your PC) and then clicking 'view my account'. For a small number of people, going to icloud.com on the web may see your Apple ID prefilled in the 'sign in' area.
In case you happen to have an Apple TV, you will definitely see it here when you go into your settings, 'accounts' and then 'iCloud'.
If you don't have access to any of these shortcuts, it's well worth contacting Apple Support. I have found, when dealing with Apple Support on issues like this, that they will try to get you back in using a number of methods.
For example, they will ask whether there is a secondary email address that it might be, in case that was one you were using at the time. Or there may be security questions, typically answers to questions that only you might know, such as a first pet's name.
On the other hand, if it is just a forgotten password to your Apple ID, you can get around it more easily by visiting iforgot.apple.com and following the prompts. (You'll be asked to answer a security question or to get an email reset.)
However, I'm a little surprised that Apple's support told you to contact the retailer as they normally have nothing to do with an Apple ID. I can only assume that this was for some reason of proof, such as verification of the purchase (a formal receipt) in case you were someone trying to hack into another's Apple account by saying you forgot your ID and password.
Is it possible to go back to whoever helped you set up the iPad Mini? You say that it was in a class, was that given by someone you know? It's a longshot, but they may be able to jog your memory as to the email address you may have used, or the system they used to help beginners set such things up. Apologies that I don't have a more definitive solution than the above.
My daughter got an Acer Swift laptop in 2017 and uses it for college work and also watches Netflix on it at home. Recently it won't turn on with a 'battery is low' message, even though it's 100pc charged. Can she get the battery replaced and, if so, is this costly? I really thought this laptop would last a lot longer than 2.5 years. She needs the laptop for returning to college in September. If we have to buy her a replacement, what would you recommend? Bear in mind that if it's only going to last three years like the Acer, we don't want to spend a fortune on it.
- Catherine, via email
Yes, you can get the battery replaced. Acer Swifts vary in price and quality, but it should cost no more than €100. If you were to replace it with a college-friendly mid-tier laptop, I'd recommend a Lenovo, Dell or HP. PC World has a decent 14-inch HP on sale for €599 that would the job pretty well.
Recommendation: HP 14 (ce1510) with Core i5, 128GB (€599 from PC World)
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