Apple is adding a Digital Legacy feature that allows users to nominate contacts as legacy contacts who will be granted access to their Apple account in the event of their demise.
For years, users and campaigners have lobbied the tech giant to implement a formalised method of accessing emails, photos, and other contents of a loved one’s iCloud account after their death.
Up until now, the company had only advised users to include access to their personal information in their will:
“We encourage customers to add an inheritance plan to their will that covers the personal information they store on their devices and in iCloud. This may simplify the process of acquiring a proper court order and reduce delay and frustration for family members during a difficult time.”
With Digital Legacy, that process is both simplified and formalised; Legacy contacts will use a “legacy contact Apple ID” to sign in. The user will have access to the iCloud data and will be able to download it using the ID and access key. Once logged in, the legacy contact user must provide a valid copy of the primary user’s death certificate in order to gain access to the deceased person’s data.
It should be pointed out that Facebook has had a Legacy contact feature for years. In the case of the social network, its Legacy contacts feature is in charge of memorialised accounts or offers users the choice of having their account deleted after Facebook is informed of your death.
It should be noted that for Apple’s Digital Legacy service, payment information such as credit card details, subscriptions, licensed media, and Keychain password will be excluded from the accessible data.