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Ghost Icloud Account in Internet Prefrences  



I tried valiantly to correct this problem for over a 3 months and I can't figure it out.  In my internet system prefs on my MacPro mid 2012 running OS 10.12.6, I can not delete a ghost icloud account with an alias Icloud email address. I can log out of the address I do use and I can delete that account.  This Ghost, however, I can not.  I have tried dumping keychains, deleting the alias which is a .mac account, the legit one is a .icloud. I try and click the - to remove and it stays.  I have logged into my test account and this Ghost account is not present and all is right in the world.  Back on the main User Account IN the Internet Accounts the Ghost icloud says contacts and 2 more.  Where oh where is this damn thing so I can delete it.  I am not signed in to any icloud services, I have checked every ios device I own to double check that I am indeed signed out.  I have scrolled through the Library, plist files, empty accounts folders,  and other system files but I have had no obvious luck and I don't know what can go or stay.    Has anyone an idea?   Knowing that the Test account worked I am planning on my next step which will be a reinstall and then migrate slowly to the new system.   Thanks for reading and the time.  I am sure it is something simple.


2 Answers

I feel your pain, but don't have an easy answer to mind. Certainly based upon what you have already tried it is unlikely to be something "simple"!
One possible thought I can add is that perhaps this is somehow tied in with iCloud synchronisation of accounts (where plist files actually get synced between 2 different places on your Mac). In that case perhaps doing the opposite of what you've tried - temporarily log in to that ghost account as your primary iCloud account via the iCloud Preference pane.

And along that line of thought I wonder if that account is somehow associated with the original purchase ID for the Mac and/or the Find My Mac config.

Final thought - can you log in to to the Apple ID web site ( with the ghost account? If so does it list any associated devices and can you remove them?

Graham, the original icloud was a which I switched to which had been running successfully and blissfully for years. Late last year into this year is when the ghost account appeared with the id. I would sign in and there would be 2 @mac's. I then switched it to in hopes of deleting the ghost. That didn't work and as mentioned above I went through hoops and google fu to find an answer. I did relog in using the ghost and the devices are the same as they are on @icloud. I have logged into the ghost account on the Icloud preference pane but have had issues with verifying the the verification code. today I had apple call me with it and I was in. The next step after logging in I click on what I wanted to have access 2. For example contacts, calendar, mail, etc. When I do that a ghost account appears in internet accounts. The ghost account I signed into has contacts and notes, keychain, back to mac, find my mac, and VPN. THE duplicate account that appeared when I clicked contacts has the complete list of Icloud apps, in addition to the above: calendar, photos, Mail, reminders, safari. The Ghost account I logged into does not have those applications to choose. If I delete the "new" sign in the ghost remains with only the limited apps. Another peculiarity is my sign on password is wrong when verifying, the password is wrong. I know it isn't wrong because I am on that device via the password right now. If I could find that Icloud account plist or whatever I would delete it. I am inching toward clean install.

Yeah - I think you've done enough testing & research that you're unlikely to now have somebody pop their hand up and say they had the same problem and found a 5 minute fix. So the clean install will be a nuisance but will probably bring a few other "freshness" benefits.

Graham, Thank you for staying with me on this. I followed that advice and boot up in Safe Mode and reinstalled the OS. I then restarted and continued to have problems logging into iCloud. I no longer could get into my account via system prefs. Also, in the process of trying to figure this out I had logged out of all my devices from iCloud and not when I logged back in on those devices I could not confirm them because the MacBook could not connect to verify. It is a mess. THANKFULLY I had a "Test" user account with Admin and that one WORKED. I verified my devices. I went back to my user account and could not figure out what was causing the corruption. All the data is backed. Can I created another User ID and migrate the files I need over and then delete the old corrupted user account? I am not running High Sierra.


Follow up on what I did once I realized my original user account was corrupted.

What I did was to create a new user account.  

Grabbed all my files from that user account and moved them the new one.

I then went through each file, mainly photos and documents, and changed permissions.

After a week of dealing with duplicates, cleaning, deleting, etc. I was up and running with nearly the identical set up as my old user account.   Doing this is a pain in the buttock.

The final step is to deal with iTunes and my new Photo app on the new account.  iTunes shouldn't be an issue since it is ran on an external and all the files are there.

Photos, I dunno.  I have 15,000 photos I am about to drop on it.

Things I learned: 1. back up each night, follow Jon F. Braun's advice to boot into your back up now and again to test it to see if everything works.  This could have saved me a lot of time in finding WHEN my user account became corrupt. 

2. the first thing anyone should do with a new computer is to make a dumb admin account that you do not touch.  This SAVED me in getting into my iCloud account and activating it again.  If I did not have that test account on my Mac I don't know what the app tech would have done. We had discussed this issue on the phone for over an hour trying everything until I realized I had this test account.  Using the test account I could log into my iCloud and get things moving again.

3. Do maintenance once a month to clean out caches, dump old files, delete apps, run updates, and utility software.  

4. iCloud is weird and finicky. Test it often.

Below are some links that I used, none worked but perhaps there is something in them that could help you with your user or iCloud issues.

step by step how to fix OS X user and icloud issues

Forgot the Apple Rep link: