Yesterday I got to spend some quality time with an Apple iPad, and quickly discovered that I could not log into the App Store to purchase software. The message I got was “This Apple ID has been disabled for security reasons.” But I purchase content through iTunes regularly on the desktop and iPhone. What’s up? Googling for the error message revealed mixed results. Apple’s official knowledge base article suggested that this can happen if you enter the wrong password too many times. I knew that wasn’t the problem. Then I discovered an article at Redmond Pie talking about how people were being banned from access to the App Store when their usernames included certain “suspicious-looking” strings. My real last name is “Hacker” and I’ve occasionally had trouble signing up for certain services because of it (my poor Dad can’t get a Facebook account to this day – they just ignore his signup attempts). I put two and two together and concluded that I was being banned on account of my name.
Spent half an hour on the phone with Apple, getting bounced from rep to rep, trying to get to the bottom of it. They re-set my account, but the problem remained. Then I realized what I had been doing wrong. Back in the day, Apple services took single-word usernames, like “shacker,” which I had long used to log into the Apple developer center, support forums, and other services. At a certain point, Apple converted these IDs to require a login in the form of an email address. I had simply forgotten this and was trying to use my old Apple ID rather than the email address associated with my Apple account.
The fact that Apple threw this confusing dialog, combined with the blog post I had found referencing hackers being locked out, combined with my previous experience being unable to sign up for certain services, all conspired to make me think I was being blocked because of my name. The truth turned out to be much simpler.
All is well.