I go through the Apple instructions to change my ID. In the Apple ID website, I enter the new address but the form responds "This email address is not available. Choose a different address."
After a bit of digging, it seems that Apple will lock (or prevent the use of) an email address as an Apple ID if it is currently a backup email to another Apple ID. So, if someone has ever used your email address as a backup and it is NOT curretly your Apple ID, you can't create an Apple ID using that email address....
I call Apple support and amazingly get assistance within seconds 💥. Nice! Unfortunately, the only way around this problem is to dissassociate your email address from any other Apple IDs. I've setup MANY Apple IDs for friends and family. I MIGHT have used that email address as their backup at one point - but I don't believe I did. The customer representative suggested we start going through any accounts I can remember. After about 6 attempts, I'm fed up and just decide there is no way to solve this problem on the phone.
I really don't understand why Apple has this policy but ... whatever. The problem is they provide essentially no way to recover from the issue. Clearly, they don't want some bad actor to call and pretend they have this problem and then get told, "Oh, your Aunt Nancy '[email protected]' is using [email protected] as her backup. Work with her to disassociate it." I understand that would be a major privacy and security faux pas. However, there has to be SOME way to let someone know why their favorite email address is locked up.
Instead of me trying to remember every Apple ID I'm the backup to or Apple disclosing information over the phone, how about they actually send an email to "[email protected]" that says, "Your email address is the backup for [email protected] and [email protected]." Then, I could work with my friends/family to remove my address as their backup - at least temporarily.
Of course, the Apple customer representative is not authorized to do that. Doing so would require some approval at much higher levels.
Do you know anyone at Apple that can help?? Please let me know on Twitter @calendee.