iPhone: What function do you need to activate before you die?


The new Heritage Contacts setting in iOS 15.2 lets you determine who will have access to Apple iCloud information after you die. See how to set it up.

For this article to be useful, you must meet two conditions:

# 1: Have an Apple device.

# 2: To die at some point.

Okay, you might be using Android, but unless you’re Dracula or Kenny from South Park, you’re not immortal.

On Monday, Apple released iOS 15.2 and, among many other features, the software update included a long overdue “Heritage Contact” setting. The new tool lets you determine who’s accessing your Apple account — your photos, notes, mail, and more — when you die.

Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) have been offering a similar setting for years. Apple, on the other hand, had a more time-consuming process, requiring a court order.

I’m very interested in what happens in our digital world after we die. This is not just to make it easier for your family to access a PDF from your accountant. It’s all about ensuring that your photos, videos and more — capturing your memories and life stories — are passed on to the next generation. Having created an Emmy Award-winning documentary on behalf of the WSJ on the subject, I know it’s not easy to think of. Many people do not do this until it is too late.

That’s why I encourage you to explore the Apple tool, despite the initial flaws, and talk about it with your family. Here are some answers to any questions you may have.

Where can I find the setting?

First, you need iOS 15.2. Get to know the routine: On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings> General> Software Update, and then follow the instructions.

When this is done, go to Settings and tap your name at the top. Select Password and Security, and then at the bottom of the screen, Legacy Contact. You will be able to add up to five contacts – heirs. People in the Family Sharing program will be nominated automatically.

Okay, but what exactly is a Heritage Contact?

Simply put, it is someone who can access your Apple Account and the information on it when you die. They are the friends or family members you trust and want to have this data. My wife, for example, is the contact – my heir.

A digital heir contact will be able to access most of your iCloud account: photos, messages, email, notes, files, contacts, calendars, downloaded applications, and device backups your. (Here is a complete list.) Does not include: passwords stored in the iCloud key and licensed media, such as books or music or movies that you may have purchased.

What if I want to restrict the data they have access to?

No I can not. You give them access to all or nothing. I think it’s wrong. Let’s say you just wanted to make sure your family only had access to your photos and notes? You just can not. They would take the whole package — messages, files, etc. Google lets you specify with a checklist what exactly you want to share. An Apple spokesman said the company wanted to make it as simple as possible for users. The company did not want people to have to modify settings when new data categories were added or removed.

How does an heir contact get access when I die?

When you add people as old contacts, they are given an access key. If your old contacts have Apple devices, you can send them keys via Messaging. If the receiver has iOS 15.2 or later, the key will be stored locally in an encrypted location on the device.

Apple also has a print option so you can print the passkey and give it to your heir contact for storage with other important documents.

Then, when you die, the heir contact will go to digital-legacy.apple.com. There he will log in to his iCloud account (or, if he is not in iCloud, provide some other contact information) and enter the passkey. (It can also be done directly through the Heir Contact settings on a compatible Apple device.) The person will also need to upload a death certificate, which will then be reviewed by Apple staff, including members of its legal team. Any contact heir you call can request the data.

If the check is completed after the Apple check – which a spokesperson says can take up to two weeks – the heir contact will be sent a link to create a password for the account. It can then use it to connect to the web or an Apple device to access data.

Is this a security gap that one could exploit?

The password alone would not be enough to log into your account. It would take a combination of a passkey and a death certificate to go through Apple control.

Can my heir contact do something to my account?

Parts of the account will be deactivated. For example, your contact will not be able to send messages or emails. However, the account will still receive messages. (It is not uncommon for people to continue texting loved ones who have died. I wrote about how my wife did this.

Couldn’t I just give my loved ones my passwords and IDs?

Sure, you could and many people do. However, setting up like Apple’s – and similar practices by password managers and other cloud services – ensures that your data is not available to people while you’re still an active user.

Who should I choose as heir contacts?

This is the most difficult question. The person you name as the executor of your will may not be the person you want to have access to your entire message history.

“You have to think about who you want to have access to your data when the data universe is growing exponentially,” says Allison Arden Bessunder, president of trust and property at New York-based law firm Goetz Fitzpatrick LLP.

Again, since we store so many different types of data with Apple, we need to be able to determine exactly what is being transferred. Ms. Bessunder suggests finding someone who is trustworthy as well as technically familiar enough to deal with it. And while I fit both descriptions, I’m sorry, I can not be a contact heir to all of you. Good luck!

Source: Financial Postman

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