Our digital lives are inextricably intertwined with our "real" lives, and Apple is finally beginning to recognize this. The data that exists in our iCloud accounts is important not just to us, but to our families. Now, there's a way for our loved ones to access our digital data when we can't.
How do Apple's traditional contacts work
Starting with iOS 15.2, iPad OS 15.2, and macOS 12.1, Apple has allowed you to designate a "legacy contact" who can take over your digital data in the event of your death. Because this is Apple, everything is done safely, and there are security measures.
Legacy contacts will need a unique access key and death certificate (verified by Apple) to request access to your data, including iCloud photos, notes, emails, reminders, health data, and your iCloud backup. They won't have access to payment information and data (such as usernames and passwords) stored in your keychain.
To do this, both parties need to be running iOS 15.2 or higher. After the update, open the Settings app, select your profile from the top, and go to Password and Security > Legacy Contact. Click the Add Legacy Contact button from the bottom of the screen.
Here, you can select people who have been added to your home account, or you can select others from your contacts list. Then, click the continue button again.
Select Send Message to send an access key to contact. You can also choose to print it. Click the "Send" button to send a message. Then select the "Done" option to complete the setup.
Once the user accepts the Access Key, they are added to the legacy Contacts section. You can add more than one person to this list.
How do I edit or delete a legacy contact?
You can delete a legacy contact at any time.Go to Settings > Profiles > Passwords and Security > Legacy Contacts.Here, select the person's name and click the "Delete Contact" button to begin.
How to access iPhone data after death
If you're an estate contact of a deceased person, you'll need to use Apple's digital Heritage site to retrieve their data.
Once you open the Digital Legacy website, click the "Request access" button to begin. You'll need Access keys and death certificates to retrieve their data.