What happens to your Apple account when you die? The answer depends on whether you’ve set up a Legacy Contact, a feature added by Apple in iOS 15.2. Here’s how it works and exactly what the nominee can do and access.

What is a legacy contact?

An inherited contact is someone you designate to access your data after your death. This data includes media such as photos and videos, message history, notes, files, contacts, calendar entries, downloaded applications and application data, and backups of any device stored in iCloud. An inherited contact may remove activation lock of your devices if you want to use them personally, give them away or sell them.

They will not have access to your stored logins or passwords , to the iCloud email accounts you use, or to your licensed media. That means you can’t stream your music, movie, or app collection (unless those apps already exist on a device that you own).

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Request Legacy Contact Access

Apple reviews all requests made by Legacy Contacts before providing access to any data. Requests can be made through the Digital Legacy website at digital-legacy.apple.com . In order for an application to be granted, the person must have access to the password provided when they were first nominated, as well as a copy of their death certificate and date of birth.

For this reason, it is very important that legacy contacts (yourself or not) record the passkey. Don’t trust it to be stored in your message app, put it in a note locked , password manager or print a physical copy to store in a safe place such as a vault or safe.

Set up a legacy contact on your iPhone or iPad

Launch the Settings app and tap your name at the top of the list:

Access the iOS settings

Select Password and security, then scroll down and tap Legacy Contact.

Suggestion: If you don’t see the option to add a legacy contact, make sure your iPhone is updated to the latest version of iOS .

Access the Legacy Contacts screen in iOS 15.2

Touch “Add Legacy Contact” and read the disclaimer explaining how the process works, then touch “Add Legacy Contact” to continue.

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Add Legacy Contact to iPhone

Sign in with Face ID, Touch ID, or your Apple ID password to continue, then select a contact. Touch a contact method such as an email address or phone number to confirm. This contact method is used to deliver the access key and will not be necessary in the future to grant any request.

Read the disclaimer that explains what the person will have access to, then tap Continue:

Disclaimer for Legacy Contact Access

Now choose how you want to deliver your legacy contact’s passkey, either by sending a message or by printing a copy. If you select Print, the print dialog box will appear (there is no option to print to a file at the time of writing this article). You can resend this passcode by revisiting the Legacy Contact screen and tapping that person’s name, followed by the “Resend Passcode” option.

Share Legacy Contact Passkey

You can have more than one inherited contact, so you can repeat this process as many times as you like. If you want to remove someone, revisit the legacy contact screen, touch their name, select “Remove contact” and confirm.

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Now do the same with your other accounts

Many services allow you to similarly nominate people to have access to your data after you are gone. While it is not the most optimistic topic, it is important to understand what will happen to your online accounts when you die .

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