Apple will soon allow iPhone users to pass on their iCloud data to select contacts when they die

By: |
November 11, 2021 5:19 PM

With the latest iOS update, Apple will allow the loved ones or family members of the deceased person to access the data from iCloud when there is absolutely no way of unlocking the phone without a passcode.

Digital Legacy Programme is available now in the public beta version of iOS 15.2 for iPhone.

Apple is introducing a new Digital legacy programme under which a deceased person’s personal iCloud data will be accessible without going through the legal route. With the latest iOS update, Apple will allow the loved ones or family members of the deceased person to access the data from iCloud when there is absolutely no way of unlocking the phone without a passcode.

The Digital Legacy Programme was first announced at WWDC earlier this year where an iPhone user will be able to designate up to five people as legacy contacts. Such contacts will be able to access the owner’s personal information and data like photos, documents, purchases stored in iCloud after death. Such contacts, however, will need to submit proof of deaths and an access key to access the content.

The procedure gets much simpler than taking the court’s order confirming another user’s right to inheritance and even that does not necessarily guarantee they will be allowed to enter the iCloud account. According to the iCloud terms of service, the deceased person’s data goes with them even with a death certificate.

Apple, in order to protect its core principle of user data privacy, for long has restricted the relative of a deceased user to access the content of the phone saved in iCloud account. But Google and Facebook already have in place systems that designate account access to other people.

How to set up a legacy contact in your iOS device

• Go to the Settings, tap on <your name>. and enter password and security key
• For mac, go to System preferences, enter your <apple ID> and type Password & Security key
• Under Legacy Contact, if you use Family Sharing, you can choose a family member from the list. You can also add someone not a family using their email or phone number.
• Notify your Legacy Contact that he/she has been added and share the access key you have set up via Messages.
• On accepting to be a legacy contact, a copy of the access key is automatically stored in their Apple ID settings and if they decline, you will receive a notification.
• The access key is required to get into your account.
Only users using iOS 15.2 can store the access key in the settings on their device. The rest need another way to keep the key safe.

Digital Legacy Programme is available now in the public beta version of iOS 15.2 for iPhone. After iOS 15.2 fully launches, it will be fully available across all latest Apple devices. Apple, however, hasn’t clarified which version of macOS will support the feature.

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