How to set up legacy contacts for all online accounts

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Dealing with a death is traumatic and online accounts complicate an already dire situation for survivors. With protected accounts and encrypted data, it can be difficult to plan your digital affairs so that the important information in your online accounts is shared with the people who need it. There’s the joking suggestion to ask a close friend to clear their browsing history if you share to avoid future embarrassment, but even that isn’t entirely possible unless you set something up in advance.

You could do this by passing your account credentials, but that’s a very insecure practice. It’s entirely possible that your account could be accessed by that person while you were alive, with obvious security and privacy implications. Starting with iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, and macOS 12.1, Apple allowed users to set up a legacy contact for their Apple ID.

A specific legacy contact cannot access certain types of data from the decedent’s Apple account until after the decedent’s death. The key to this is that the primary account holder must have died before a legacy contact can access the account. Because Apple verifies before granting access, this prevents the user from revealing access prematurely and preserves her privacy while she’s still alive.

How to set up legacy contacts for all online accounts

  • Only add people you trust and would like to lead your digital legacy.
  • Revisit these scenarios every two years if your love life has changed, such as death, divorce, or a friendship that isn’t as close as it used to be.
  • Consider what exactly you give them access to, as some types of data may be more revealing than you’re comfortable with, such as email or location history.
  • Consider a separate backup plan, such as sharing your passwords or accessing a password manager that can help with accounts that don’t include legacy options or login data that shouldn’t be transferred like DRM (Digital Rights Management). protected music and movies.
  • Let the person you’re adding know you’re the contact (they often receive an automated email), and if you have a will, consider including any legacy contact documentation.

How to add old digital contacts

  • If you’re using the latest operating systems (iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, or macOS 12.1), you can set up legacy Apple Contacts on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. On an iOS device, go to Settings → tap your name at the top → Password and Security → Legacy Contact. On your Mac, you can also find this in Settings → Password & Security → Legacy Contact.
  • The way Apple set it up won’t work for everyone. First, it’s a process that begins with a visit to Apple’s digital heritage access page. You’ll be given a “password” for that person, which contains a QR code and a line of text that you can print out or send to them via an encrypted text message. Only people who also use Apple devices can use the digital version of the key. You will have to print it for someone else. You will need this key and a copy of your death certificate to access your data.
  • The person has access to a large amount of data and there is no way to customize what they can see. If you have it, they can recover your messages, photos, and files stored in iCloud. You’ll see your call history, email, health data, Notes app info, contacts, calendar voice memos, bookmarks, and Safari reminders. You can also access all iCloud backups.
  • So there’s something you can’t convey. Files you purchased through Apple, such as albums, songs, books, and movies, are not included. Unlike a parent’s record collection or mix boxes, digital music purchased online cannot be passed on to the next generation.
  • If you’re an Android user or only use Google products, you can set up what’s called an inactive account manager.
  • There are a few key differences in how Google handles this type of alternative contact. First, it’s not just the expectation that someone will actively try to access your account. Instead, you can set it to automatically contact your employees after a set period of time, from three to 18 months, after determining that you no longer use your Google products.

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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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