What Happens to Your iPhone Data When You Pass Away? | Here’s What Apple Shares With Your Family

Legacy Contact in iOS 15.2 beta 2 Credit: Jesse Hollington
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If you’ve ever wondered what will happen to the data on your Apple devices when you pass away, Apple has finally made it clear and easy to sort out with the Digital Legacy feature now available to beta testers.

The idea of the new Digital Legacy feature was first introduced in June along with iOS 15 but was not yet ready to be released. Now it is ready and available in iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2 betas. The feature allows you to set a person as your Legacy Contact. That person will be the one who gains access to your Apple ID account and other information on your iPhone, Mac, and iPad when you pass.

Before this, gaining access to the data on a deceased person’s Apple devices was not a simple process, especially if you didn’t know their passcode.

How to Set Your Legacy Contact

Here’s how you can set up your ?Legacy Contact?:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap on your profile picture and then select Password & Security. 
  3. Tap Legacy Contact?.
  4. Tap on Add Legacy Contact.
  5. Authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID, or a password.
  6. If you have Family Sharing enabled, suggested family members will pop up.
  7. Choose a loved one whom you trust with your account after you pass away.
  8. Once you read how Legacy Contact works, tap Continue and proceed to choose how you want to share your Access Key.
  9. After you share the key, the chosen person will be able to request access to your data after you pass away.

Note: You can have up to five Legacy Contacts.

What Can They Access?

Whenever your Legacy Contact? is ready to access your iCloud data after you’ve passed, they must visit digital-legacy.apple.com. With an access key and copy of the death certificate, they’ll be able to view the following data:

  • Contacts
  • Messages
  • Photos 
  • Videos
  • Calander Events
  • Notes
  • Emails
  • Downloaded Apps and Their Data
  • Device Backups
  • Documents

There are various other new features to discover in iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2, including the ability to scan for nearby AirTags, a new Apple TV layout, and a Hide My Email feature.

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