Apple will soon allow designated users to inherit iCloud digital heritage

In the recent iOS update, Apple is trying to solve a complex digital heritage inheritance problem. Before the death of his family, Apple had not been able to provide a simple way to access its iCloud account, let alone unlock the device without knowing the password. In addition, the company wrote in the iCloud terms of service-even if the death certificate is submitted, the data of these users cannot be delivered to the heirs.

As early as June this year at the WWDC 2021 Developers Conference, Apple has already proposed this digital heritage plan. Then in the iOS 15.2 update, the company has allowed users to specify five heir accounts (Legacy Contacts). That way, after the death of the setter, the heir will be able to easily access the data and personal information stored in iCloud, such as photos, documents, and even purchased services.

To activate Digital Legacy, heirs still need to submit a death certificate to Apple officials and may require the court to confirm their inheritance rights. For Apple, which has long taken the protection of user privacy as its core principle, the situation it faces in the future will become more complicated. Even so, the process is much simpler than before. And before Apple, many technology companies represented by Google and Facebook also set up access mechanisms that allow designated users to access other people’s accounts.

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Here is how to set up Legacy Contacts:

  • In iOS 15.2, it can be transferred from Settings -> Username -> Password and Security.
  • For Mac, go to System Preferences -> Username -> Password and Security.
  • The user can follow the guide to add a list of heirs under the Legacy Contacts item (fill in the email address or phone number). If family sharing is enabled, they can also directly select from the list.
  • Send a message to the designated successor and share the Legacy Contacts access key with them through the Messages application. If the other party accepts it, the key will be automatically stored and associated with its Apple ID. If you do not accept it, you will also be notified.
  • It should be noted that if the system version number of the other party’s iOS device is lower than 15.2, they cannot store the access key in the settings. At this time, the setter can specify other methods to provide the access key for Legacy Contacts.
    Finally, as part of the Digital Legacy project, Legacy Contact is now available for the public beta version of iOS 15.2.

When iOS 15.2 is officially released, Apple will also open extensive access to Legacy Contact. As for which version of macOS will support this feature, it is currently unknown.

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