Apple Inc. allows setting ‘Nominees’ for iCloud Accounts: Digital Legacy provision can grant up to 5 people access to data after submitting death certificate

Apple Inc. Digital Legacy Departed Deceased iCloud Account Access Photos Data
iCloud Account handover of deceased to become simpler? Pic credit: Anton Porsche/Flickr

Apple Inc. is adding a new feature and amending terms to the iCloud Terms of Service. The Digital Legacy feature officially grants access to personal data of a deceased person to “Nominees”.

Apple Inc. is addressing a critical and complex problem of data access and ownership of a deceased person who had been using an iCloud Account. Until today, there was no way to rightfully claim access to iCloud accounts of the departed, even after showing a death certificate.

Apple Inc. allows setting Legacy Contacts or nominees for iCloud Accounts:

The Right of Survivorship has always been complicated when it comes to Apple Inc. The company has remained absolutely adamant about not transferring access to iCloud account of the deceased to the next of kin.

Incidentally, the iCloud terms of service clearly state the deceased person’s data goes with them even with a death certificate. In other words, even if the survivor of the departed offers a legitimate death certificate, Apple Inc. won’t just open up access to the iCloud account.

Until now, there was no easy way to access the iCloud account of the deceased. Moreover, if the departed hadn’t left behind the passcode, the data was as good as lost.

Apple Inc. has reportedly indicated that it is addressing this perplexing issue with Digital Legacy. The feature basically allows setting up to five nominees for the iCloud Account.

The iPhone maker first announced the feature back in WWDC. It is arriving in iOS 15.2 The program will be available for iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

How to activate the Digital Legacy feature and exercise the right after the death of iCloud Account holder:

Until recently, Apple Inc. not only mandated a death certificate, but also a court order confirming a right to inheritance. There have been quite a few instances wherein the data was as good as lost.

Moving ahead, Apple will still require proof of death and an access key. However, owners of Apple-branded devices can set nominees using the Digital Legacy feature.

After updating an iPhone or iPad device to iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2 respectively, head over to Legacy Contact. On an iOS device, the feature is available by going to Settings > [your name] > Password & Security. On a Mac PC, the feature is available through System Preferences > Apple ID > Password & Security.

The Legacy Contact can offer names of family members if the Family Sharing feature is active. Digital Legacy requires the email addresses and phone numbers of the nominees.

Apple-branded device owners can notify their Legacy Contact and share the access key via Messages. If they accept, Apple Inc. will store a copy of the access key is automatically in their Apple ID settings.

Needless to mention, iOS 15.2 hasn’t yet entered general availability. The Digital Legacy feature will be broadly accessible when iOS 15.2 fully launches. Apple Inc. hasn’t yet confirmed which version of macOS will support Digital Legacy.

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