Setting Up a Legacy Contact on iOS and iPadOS Devices

Securing digital legacies has never been more critical than it is in today’s interconnected world. Understanding how to designate a Legacy Contact for your digital assets on Apple devices is essential for estate planning in the digital age. This guide walks you through the process of configuring a Legacy Contact on your iOS and iPadOS devices, ensuring your digital footprint is accessible to loved ones after your passing.

Understanding Legacy Contacts in Apple Devices

Beginning with iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2, and certainly in their later iterations—such as iOS 16 and iPadOS 16—Apple introduced the Legacy Contact feature. It addresses past concerns about accessing devices and accounts posthumously.

The designated Legacy Contact will receive an access key enabling them to retrieve your personal photos, videos, notes, documents, and other data backed up to iCloud, excluding licensed content which is detailed by Apple.

What Can a Legacy Contact Access?

Legacy Contacts are introduced as a responsible way to manage digital data post-mortem. They will only gain account access upon the confirmation of the account holder’s death, ensuring privacy for the living. An Apple ID’s Legacy Contact can access various data types stored in iCloud and iCloud Backup. This includes photos, notes, emails, contacts, calendars, reminders, messages, call history, and iCloud Drive files. However, licensed media purchases, in-app purchases, payment information, and keychain data remain inaccessible.

Requirements for Setting Up a Legacy Contact

  • Update your device to iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, or later versions.
  • Enable two-factor authentication on your Apple ID.
  • Legal minimum age for setting up a Legacy Contact is 13 or older, may vary per region.

Adding a Legacy Contact on iOS and iPadOS

  1. Go to Settings and tap your Apple ID name.
  2. Select ‘Password & Security’ and tap on ‘Legacy Contact’.
  3. Tap ‘Add Legacy Contact’ and authenticate if required.
  4. Choose a contact from your Family Sharing group or select someone else from your contacts.
  5. Follow prompts to send a message with an access key or print the access key.

Repeat this process for each contact you want to designate as a Legacy Contact.

Removing or Modifying a Legacy Contact

  1. Navigate to Settings > (Your Name) > Password & Security > Legacy Contact.
  2. Select the contact you wish to alter or remove.
  3. Delete the contact or modify settings as necessary.

The Legacy Contact can also request access via Apple’s Digital Legacy website by submitting the access key and the user’s death certificate. This ensures a secured and verified transition of data access.

Accessing Legacy Contact data from an iOS device

  1. Access Settings and go to ‘Password & Security’.
  2. Tap on ‘Legacy Contact’ and select the relevant account.
  3. Follow prompts to upload the necessary documents and request access.

Final Thoughts on Setting Up a Legacy Contact

Understanding and setting up a Legacy Contact on your Apple devices can give peace of mind to you and your loved ones. It ensures that the memories and data you hold dear can be passed on according to your wishes. If you require more guidance or have questions, do not hesitate to seek further information—being prepared is a kind gesture for those we leave behind.


Q: Can a Legacy Contact access my account before my passing?

A: No, Legacy Contacts are granted access only after the primary account holder’s death is confirmed.

Q: What types of data can a Legacy Contact not access?

A: Legacy Contacts cannot access licensed media, payment information, or keychain data.

By maintaining current practices and understanding essential digital legacy features, we can create content that informs and aids readers in managing their digital lives more effectively and with confidence.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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