Apple has followed in the footsteps of Facebook and will now allow a nominated person to access a dead person’s iCloud account, in a move welcomed by Yorkshire law firm, LCF Law.
Known as a ‘legacy contact’, the system will enable nominated people, who supply a death certificate, to gain access to a deceased person’s pictures, data and more.
Personal law solicitor, Hana Gwyn, from LCF Law, explained: “With so much reliance on technology nowadays, online accounts are an integral part of our lives. Many photos are stored in iCloud and apps and social media platforms are accessed via an Apple ID.
“When somebody dies the executors of their will are responsible for gathering all assets, including digital ones. Historically, Apple needed both a Grant of Probate and Court Order to access a deceased person’s photos, video and emails from iCloud, which was incredibly time consuming, stressful and costly during what is inevitably a difficult and emotional time. This new ‘legacy contact’ feature from Apple will speed things up significantly and mean that people won’t have to go through a court process.”
Users and campaigners have been fighting the tech giant for years to introduce a formal way of accessing content from iCloud.
“It’s a welcome change that is well overdue,” added Hana. “Digital legacy planning is becoming a routine part of writing a will and this will continue to grow over the next few years. Anyone making a will or updating one, needs to factor in what happens to their digital assets and social media profiles by nominating somebody as their legacy contact.
“It’s also important to remember that next of kin might need to know the relevant passwords in order to access phones, tablets or computers, and this is something that could be noted when making a will. It can be incredibly difficult and frustrating for people trying to login to online accounts whilst grieving. Making sure these types of login details are available in a safe and secure setting is something most good solicitors can advise on.”
According to Apple the access provided will not reveal payment information, subscriptions, licensed media and keychain password data but simply allow a trusted family member or a friend, to access photos, videos, notes, documents, personal information, contacts, calendar events, device backups and apps that have been purchased. To add a legacy contact, a device must use Apple’s latest operating system, iOS15, which is due out this autumn.