With its latest iOS release, Apple is addressing a complex issue: right of survivorship. When a loved one or family member died, there was no easy method to access their iCloud account or unlock their phone without knowing their passcode until now.

Even if a death certificate is provided, according to the iCloud terms of service, the deceased person’s data remains with them.

You can select up to five people as Legacy Contacts using the new Digital Legacy program, which was first introduced at WWDC earlier this year and is now available in iOS 15.2.

When you die, these people will have access to your data and personal information stored in iCloud, including images, documents, and even transactions.

You can select up to five people as Legacy Contacts via the new Digital Legacy program, which was first introduced at WWDC earlier this year and is available in iOS 15.2. When you die, these people will have access to your images, documents, and even purchases that are stored in iCloud.

Apple still demands proof of death and an access key to activate Digital Legacy. Still, it’s a lot easier than it used to be, when you needed a court order proving your right to inherit, and even then, there was no assurance you’d receive access to the information.

This has been a difficult situation for Apple, which has always emphasized its commitment to consumer privacy. It’s not a good look for bereaved parents and spouses to rant at the company for denying them access to their husbands’ images. But neither is handing out people’s information at random.

Both Google and Facebook have processes in place for granting other individuals account access, and it’s encouraging to see Apple catching up.

On an iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer, go to Settings and set up your Legacy Contacts.

HOW TO SET UP A LEGACY CONTACT

(Note that you must have iOS 15.2 to use this function.)

  • On an iOS device, go to Settings > [your name] > Password & Security.
  • On a Mac, go to System Preferences > Apple ID > Password & Security.
  • To add a Legacy Contact, go to Legacy Contact and follow the instructions. You can choose a family member from the list or add someone using their email or phone number if you use Family Sharing.
  • Notify your Legacy Contact and send them a message with an access key. If users accept, a copy of the access key is saved in their Apple ID settings automatically. If they say no, you’ll get a notification. If you pass away, the access key is required to access your account.
  • While you can add a Legacy Contact who isn’t running iOS 15.2, they won’t be able to save the access key in their device’s settings, thus you’ll have to give it to them in another means.

The Digital Legacy program’s Legacy Contact is now available in the public beta version of iOS 15.2 for iPhone. When iOS 15.2 is fully released, it will be widely available. Apple hasn’t specified which version of macOS will be compatible with the functionality.

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here