Alex Kaloostian

Apple Certified Master Trainer | Systems Integrator | Video Editor | Motion Graphics Artist

Setting up an iTunes account without a credit card

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**Update!** Hey you, did you come here from Google or another search engine? This article is a bit out of date. Go read the new & improved story.

Are you thinking of setting up a Mac or an iPad for a child, but you’re worried about your credit card getting maxed out with Farmville charges and Angry Birds sequels? Well, just don’t input an AppleID… ohh yeah, you HAVE to to run your apps. Well, sign up for an iTunes store account without a credit card, shouldn’t that be easy? Let’s see what happens if we go through the iTunes music store, or the web, or any of the other myriad ways Apple gives us for creating an AppleID…

Okay, so far, so good. Now, I’ll just enter a username and password, answer some security questions, and…

Hmm, I HAVE to click Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover of PayPal. Last I checked, those are ALL payment methods, right? So why can’t I just skip this or click none? Turns out, you can! You just have to know a trick.

The Trick!

Okay, so there is ONE way to create an iTunes account without adding payment info. Skip the web, skip the music store, skip Apple’s web site. On your Mac or PC, launch iTunes, click the App Store link at the top, and find a free app. Any app will do. I’m a fan of PBS Kids Video, my son loves it.

Okay, so try to download a free app. It will require you to log in. Click the Create AppleID button, fill out an email account and password* and answer some security questions. And when you get to the last page, here’s what you’ll see:

Now we’re talking! Click none, and you’re good to go. You now have an Apple Store ID with no payment attached. You can download and run all the free apps you want, but if you want to buy a paid app, you can but a gift card, enter the code, and you’ll be limited to that credit. No chance of your kid going off the rails and building the greatest collection of Pokemon, or whatever kids do these days. Grumble grumble, get off my lawn.

*So what should you use for an email account? Well, you could go over to Yahoo or Gmail or Hotm*snicker* sorry, I thought I could get through that. You COULD go over to Yahoo or Gmail and set up another account for your child, but then things are going to get crazy. Here’s a cool trick you can do with Gmail: Gmail lets you create as many aliases as you want, just add a plus after your existing address.

This is a great way to set up filters, spam traps, and accounts for your kids, among other things. My address is alex.kaloostian@gmail.com (oh come on, like you couldn’t have guessed that). If I want to sign up for a company’s email list but I think they’re sketchy and might sell my identity, I can set up, for example, alex.kaloostian+nedslivebait@gmail.com and any email to that address will go to my main address.

So, just set up an address for your kid that goes to your main address. One less account and password to remember and you’ll receive anything they would have received. Oh, and don’t bother; that bait shop address isn’t real. And sorry if this post got a little long and pithy, I’ve been watching an Aaron Sorkin show while I type this.

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Author: alexkaloostian

I'm a video editor, motion graphics designer and Mac IT consultant in the Boston area.

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