One person, two Macs (work and personal)


Hi Appletalkers,

My new job will see me with two Macs - one provided by work and my own.

How do others handle this? I’d like to maintain distinct separation between work and private, but I suspect iCloud and iMessage in particular will ‘centralise’ some of these things. Should I create a second iCloud account for work perhaps?

I’d be interested in feedback from anyone who has experience with this scenario. Thanks.


What work environment does your work use?

For example, at my work, they use Office Exchange, so I get to really use Outlook/ Word/ etc for work, and then set up separate Home for myself. iCloud is then really for syncing non-work things.

It’s really up to you - I sync a work laptop and a home desktop quite seamlessly, and to be honest, both have similar things on them so I can switch between both easily. Both have work and home on it - obviously the home is a server that has all the files, my laptop can access remotely.


I use two Macs - a Mac Pro tower at home and a MacBook Pro on the road.

Dropbox syncs all my files, and iCloud my contacts. I use iMessage on both via my phone. All other data is cloud hosted and synced. Mail is Gmail in browser. Notes are iCloud & Evernote. Calendar is gmail & iCloud in BusyCal.

It really is all pretty seamless really! :slight_smile: I can switch to my laptop and pickup where I left off with literally everything. Only reason I even have a desktop is for more screens and it’s way faster.


While I don’t primarily work from a Mac at work, I use multiple Macs as part of my role.

The rule for keeping them separate is pretty simple: don’t log into any of your personal accounts on the work Macs, and on your personal Macs, don’t log into any of your work accounts.


My approach is similar to benny.

I used Mail on both machines, and you can choose not to add accounts on the work machine (and vice versa). Similarly, you do not need to activate messages, etc.

The challenge comes if you have apps store apps you want on your work machine, and how amenable your work is to purchasing any (i.e. not log into iCloud).

I only use iCloud, not dropbox or anything else now… (still have issues with contacts not syncing across my own devices, which I have not had time to look into)


Similar deal but with iPhones. Have a work and personal iPhone.

Work one I log into my iTunes account for apps, but don’t log into iCloud (use Exchange).

Personal, I log into iCloud (obviously) and iTunes, but don’t add my work Exchange account.


I’m in agreement with Benny here.
Work and home are separate.
If I need for some rare reason to access my home email on my work Macs I would log into iCloud web portal only, grab what I need and log out again in a private window.

Just remember if you work in a corporate position work could claim back your work mac at anytime for upgrades or similar. You don’t want to have to sit there and spend hours cleaning all non work stuff off of it.


Thanks for all the feedback.
I was thinking how it would be good to have iMessage set up on my work Mac (plus my personal one) but I think I’ll do as you’ve all suggested - complete separation.

I’ve never had this issue before as previous work laptops have always been Windows so there was a natural line drawn.


Same I do for my work. I never login my accounts on office laptop (Mac). It makes my life quite easier.


Setting up multiple Apple IDs is no issue. Your work Mac could be set up to access just your “work” Apple ID and the your home Mac could be set up to access both - just add both iCloud accounts. As an aside, I use my Apple ID with trusted friends and contacts. I use my gmail address for everything else. All my junk mail and spam comes from my gmail account. So every once and I while when I get tired of deleting spam I stop using my gmail account and open another one to collect spam.