Apple has always held iCloud data close, even when someone dies, but that’s now changing.
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They say you can’t take it with you unless it’s your iCloud data. Apple has always been strict on just who could access your data, even after your death. Now, Apple is fixing this somewhat, with the ability to designate Legacy Contacts so someone trusted can get into your iCloud account.
It’s all part of Apple’s Digital Legacy program, which lets a named administrator get your phone’s contents after you shuffle off the mortal coil. First announced at WWDC this year, the feature is now live in iOS 15.2
Here’s how to set it up.
How to set up legacy contacts in iOS 15.2
Yes, this means you need to be on iOS 15.2 before starting. Go check for updates on your iPhone.
- Open Settings
- Tap on [your name] at the top, then on Password & Security
- Scroll down and Tap on Legacy Contact
- Tap on Add Legacy Contact, then choose from your phone’s contacts to add via either an email address or phone number
- If your Legacy Contact has an iPhone, you’ll be able to share your access key via Messages. If/when they accept, a copy of the access key will be stored in their Apple ID settings. You’ll also get a notification if they decline for whatever reason
- If they don’t have an iPhone, you’ll get the option to print out the access key to put in with your estate planning documents
- Once added, the Legacy Contact will always be in your Apple ID settings menu, so you can see their Access Key or remove them from being your Legacy Contact
If you are on a Mac and would prefer to set it up that way, you can. Go to System Preferences > Apple ID > Password & Security and then follow the steps once you click on Legacy Contact.
This functionality is part of Apple’s Digital Legacy program, which provides methods for getting the content stored in someone’s iCloud storage after their death.
Legacy contacts are available now in the public beta of iOS 15.2 and will be available to everyone once iOS 15.2 is publicly released. Apple hasn’t said which version of macOS will be needed to support the feature.