New Apple setting lets loved ones access your iCloud — after you die

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Now you have total control over who can get all up in your business, private pics, sexts and more — from the grave.

Apple has unveiled a new “Legacy Contact” feature which enables users to hand over control of their iCloud account to a loved one after they die.

The function is included in the new iOS 15.2 update, which was released by the tech company on Monday.

Apple previously required a court order for distraught relatives who wanted to access a deceased person’s iCloud account — which holds photos, emails and text messages.

Now, those with an iPhone, iPad or Mac computer can decide whether that potentially embarrassing personal data should end up in the hands of a family member or friend after they have passed on.

Once the iOS 15.2 update has been completed on an Apple device, users can enable the Legacy Contact feature in their Settings, before nominating up to five trusted people.

Apple will then send the nominated person or persons an “access key” — a unique combination of letters and numbers. If a nominee does not have an Apple account, users must print out the access key and physically hand it to the nominated loved one.

Apple users can now nominate up to five loved ones to access their iCloud account after they've passed on.
Apple users can now nominate up to five loved ones to access their iCloud account after they’ve passed on.
LightRocket via Getty Images

Some Apple users may worry that a nominated person will be able to access their iCloud account while they’re still alive. For instance, a suspicious spouse might try to snoop on private messages and emails if they have the access key.

However, Apple ensured the setting is secure, and requires an official death certificate before entry to the iCloud account can be gained.

Apple staff examine the certificate for its authenticity — which can take up to two weeks. The process can be started at the website: Digital-Legacy.Apple.com.

Users are not able to select which types of iCloud data they want to be able to share once they have passed away. The Legacy Contact feature is all or nothing, meaning nominated loved ones will be able to gain control over the whole iCloud account.

Some have criticized that design on Twitter, with one doubter commenting: “I’d like to see an update to the ‘Legacy Contact’ where you can choose which data is shared. For example, you can choose to share photos but not messages.”

Apple has not announced whether they will make such changes in the future.



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