When you buy a new, or second-hand, apple device such as a MacBook Pro laptop, iPad tablet or iPhone mobile phone you should either create a new Apple ID (Apple Account) for it or use an existing Apple ID (Apple Account) with it, because without an Apple ID (Apple Account) you cannot do much with an Apple device in terms of purchasing and downloading apps and music for example and utilising iCloud features.
An Apple ID is actually the User Name & Password associated with a free Apple Account, which comes with 5GB of free Cloud Storage. After setting up a free Apple Account (shown below) you can then use its Apple ID (User Name & Password) to gain access to the iTunes Store (to purchase online music for example) and use iCloud features (such as downloading apps from the App Store and synchronising Notes, Calendars, Reminders and so on between Apple devices such as an iPad tablet and MacBook Pro laptop computer).
An Apple ID (User Name & Password) can be used on up to five Apple devices at the same time. This means you could use the same Apple ID (User Name & Password) with an iPad, iPhone and MacBook Pro for example whereby each of those Apple devices are then synchronised with the same Calendar information, same Contacts, same Reminders, same Apps and so on simply because they are logged into (sharing) the same Apple Account; using the same Apple ID.
In other words: Each Apple device would be looking at the same information that is stored inside the same Apple Account (inside the same Cloud Storage folder) associated with the same Apple ID (User Name & Password). The iCloud services behind the scenes are what actually carry out all the synchronising (moving of information) between Apple devices that are logged into the same Apple Account.
Furthermore: Apple devices are technically split into two sections. The operating system section (e-mail, reminders, calendar, internet, etc) and purchase stores (apple store and app store). With this in mind you could set up one Apple ID that is used to access the iTunes Store only (to purchase online music and apps for example) and then set up a separate Apple ID for each Apple device's operating system features thereby giving you 5GB of cloud storage for each Apple Account. This is ideal when you have family members with an Apple device each whereby they all want their own Apple Account (Apple ID / User Name & Password) because they don't want to be sharing Calendars, Notes, Reminders and so on with each other but at the same time they do want the option of having a shared iTunes Store (Music Library, etc).
Ignoring the above technicals! In this section I will keep things simple and assume you just want to set up one free, 5GB Cloud Storage, Apple Account and therefore have one Apple ID for both operating system use and iTunes Store use. If that's the case, click on the following link to create a new Apple ID.
In this example I'm going to create an Apple ID for my MacBook Pro laptop computer. The first segment of the CREATE AN APPLE ID web page (registration form) asks for your First Name, an optional Middle Name and your Last Name, which will be used for correspondence purposes (i.e. in e-mails and invoices) and Display Name purposes. Simply click inside each edit box and fill in the necessary details.
Fig 1.0 Fill out the FIRST NAME and LAST NAME edit boxes to continue
With your first and last names filled in, and middle name if you prefer, the next step is to enter your E-Mail Address inside the APPLE ID edit box. Be careful which e-mail address you supply here because it will be used as your Apple ID User Name. So don't use your broadband provider e-mail address for example (such as firstname.lastname@example.org) just in case you depart from that broadband company or it changes its company name thereby leaving your e-mail address redundant; in the long run.
Also be careful of using a free e-mail address such as email@example.com because of security risks (i.e. hacking and fraud). In other words: Use an e-mail address that is both permanent in your life and has no chance of becoming redundant within the next five years or so. In this example I am using an e-mail address from my Yoingco website - firstname.lastname@example.org. Because I pay for it each year I know its not going anywhere soon!
As the screenshot below shows; the e-mail address you supply must NOT already be in use and must NOT be an Apple e-mail address such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. The latter is partly due to the fact that Apple will create a new icloud.com e-mail address for you when you set up an iCloud Account via the iTunes Store. This iCloud e-mail address can then be used with the MAIL application for example.
Fig 1.1 Click inside the APPLE ID edit box and enter a valid e-mail address
After entering a valid e-mail address, denoted by the green lights on the APPLE ID Must list (above), that e-mail address will then act as your Apple ID User Name (Apple Account User Name). When asked for your Apple ID (User Name & Password), when installing an app for example, the User Name part is normally filled in for you automatically whereby all you need to supply is its Password. Hence the next step here is to set up your Apple ID (Apple Account) Password. So continue by clicking inside the PASSWORD edit box and then type in your desired password.
As you can see from the PASSWORD Must list below, your desired password must have at least eight characters with one of them being a capital (uppercase) letter and one being a number. The more complex lettering and numbering you use the stronger the password should be. And using an underscore character normally helps too. As you type in your desired password the lights on the PASSWORD Must list will turn green for each criteria you meet, just as they do when you choose your unique Apple ID (above).
Fig 1.2 Click inside the PASSWORD edit box and then type in (create) a password for your Apple ID (Apple Account)
When you have typed in your desired password you must retype it inside the CONFIRM PASSWORD edit box. This is so that the password and retyped password can be compared, in order to establish if you have made a typing error. You may have thought you typed JIMMY_2014 as your password for example inside the PASSWORD edit box when in fact you typed JIMNY_2014, because your finger caught the wrong key. So when you type JIMMY_2014 into the CONFIRM PASSWORD edit box, thinking JIMMY_2014 to be correct when really it should now be JIMNY_2014 because of your mistake, the registration process is able to identify the mistake and inform you of it.
If the registration process only needed one password, and you thought you typed JIMMY_2014 as your password but mistakenly typed JIMNY_2014, typing JIMMY_2014 instead of JIMNY_2014 would mean you could not login with your Apple ID (Apple Account) next time because you would not know the mistakenly typed password JIMNY_2014 is now the correct password.
Fig 1.3 Click inside the CONFIRM PASSWORD edit box and retype your desired password for comparison/mistakes
With the Apple ID (User Name & Password) edit boxes filled in, the next step is to create a set of three security questions for the Apple Account. These may be used if you have forgotten your Apple ID (Apple Account) Password for example. The questions themselves vary and are selectable by clicking on their relevant SECURITY QUESTION drop-down menu button.
Regardless of which security questions you use, and regardless if you can relate to them or not, I would always advise you to put in false answers; for security reasons. Meaning, if you choose a security question like - What was the name of your first pet - put something like Rose Petal Garden. Why? Because it throws people of the scent. If someone close to you knows the name of your first pet they might guess your answer whereas it's very unlikely they would guess the answer to a pet question would be garden or flower related. Even if they know you are security conscious enough to put cat instead of dog or flower instead of dog I don't think they would think of a three worded answer like Rose Petal Garden. So don't always answer these questions with honest answers.
Fig 1.4 Security Question answers can be unrelated to the question and longer than one word
The next segment of the registration form requires your D.O.B (Date Of Birth), which you should be honest enough to provide as it may be needed in a legal capacity when attempting to recover ownership of your Apple Account. If you cannot remember your security answers and Apple ID password for example you may be asked for a photocopy or exact proof of your Name, D.O.B and House Address in order to proceed with any recovery. To enter your D.O.B simply click on each D.O.B drop-down menu (MONTH, DAY and YEAR) to select your D.O.B.
Fig 1.5 Click on each D.O.B drop-down menu (MONTH, DAY and YEAR) to select your, correct, D.O.B.
With the Address segment (below) you also need to fill in correct details, for the same reasons just mentioned for D.O.B. And if you change the setting inside the COUNTRY edit box, from the default setting of UNITED STATES to UNITED KINGDOM for example, the web page will update itself briefly to accommodate that new country's options; such as replacing ZIP CODE with POST CODE and changing States into Towns/Cities. Below I have purposely blurred out my address as this is a live demonstration at the time of writing.
Fig 1.6 Changing the COUNTRY setting will refresh the web page to show country specific options like POST CODE
The PREFERRED LANGUAGE and E-Mail Preferences are self-explanatory. With regards to the E-Mail Preferences, I wouldn't worry too much about spam (junk e-mail) as I find Apple don't really bombard you with e-mail. However, if you are not happy with the e-mail preferences per se simply untick both of those settings.
Fig 1.7 If you feel Apple will bombard you with junk e-mail (spam) simply untick the e-mail preferences
The last part of the registration form needs to know it is a human that has filled in the above information and not a robot (i.e. hacker software). This means, as a human, you need to type in those "funny characters" into the HUMAN VERIFICATION edit box in order to proceed. In this case I have typed in K8NE3 and then ticked the I HAVE READ AND AGREE TO..... setting before clicking on the CREATE APPLE ID button to continue.
Fig 1.8 Type in those "funny characters", tick the I HAVE READ..... setting and then click on CREATE APPLE ID
After clicking on the CREATE APPLE ID button you will be asked to verify your e-mail address (Fig 1.9 below). Apple will send you an e-mail titled PLEASE VERIFY.... whereby you need to click on the VERIFY NOW link contained within that e-mail. Once you have done that you will be asked to login into your newly created Apple Account (not shown here) using the e-mail address (APPLE ID User Name) and password (APPLE ID Password) given in the above registration form.
Fig 1.9 You now need to verify the e-mail address you want to use as your APPLE ID User Name
Fig 1.10 When you have verified your e-mail address you can login into your new Apple Account
At this point you have an Apple ID that can be used with the App Store (to buy apps), iBook Store (to buy books), iTunes Store (to buy music), Apple Community (Forum), FaceTime (WebCam/Chat), Find My iPhone (Track A Misplaced/Lost/Stolen iPhone) and iMessage (Text Messaging) among other things. However, if you want to be able to synchronise E-Mails, Notes, Pages, Calendars, Reminders, Contacts and so on from your MacBook Pro laptop computer to your iPhone and/or iPad for example you need to activate the iCloud (Synchronisation) Services associated with your free 5GB Cloud Storage, which I will discuss in the next section.