What is Apple Digital Legacy program?
Simply put, it’s a feature that allows Apple device users to pass on their digital data to a family member, friend or contact of their choice. Apple had announced the feature in June 2021 but it was rolled out late in 2021. With Digital Legacy, you can ensure that the data remains safe with a person you nominate. Earlier, it used to be really difficult to get access to a person’s data in the event of their death but Digital Legacy changes all that. It’s like a digital version of a will related to your data with Apple.
How does one use Apple’s Digital Legacy program?
First of all, you will have to nominate a Legacy Contact. Whoever you nominate will be able to get in touch with Apple and request a copy of all the important data you might have stored in iCloud. You can nominate more than one Legacy Contact and it’s not necessary that they use an Apple device. Legacy Contacts will get an access key which is generated once they are selected by a user. To get access to the data, they will need to show a death certificate.
Apple will then approve the request and the iCloud data will be made available to Legacy Contacts for three years. After three years, the data will be permanently deleted by Apple.
What data is made available to Legacy Contacts?
Almost all data that has been stored in iCloud is made available. To make it clear, here’s all that a Legacy Contact will be able to access — iCloud Photos, Notes, Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Messages in iCloud, Call history, Files stored in iCloud Drive, Health Data, Voice Memos, Safari Bookmarks and Reading List, and iCloud Backup. Whoever is a Legacy Contact will be able to download a copy of the data or can access it on iCloud.com. Further, the iCloud backup can be restored to any iOS, iPadOS or Mac device.
What data isn’t available to Legacy Contacts
There’s some data and information that will not be made available by Apple. This includes licensed media — music, books and other data. They will also not be able to get any payment information like Apple Pay or Apple ID payment information. Any information that is in the Keychain, like Wi-Fi passwords, Safari passwords, credit card numbers will also not be made available.
How to add Legacy Contacts
The process is rather simple. All you need to do is go to Settings > Tap on your name > Password and Security. Here you will see the option of adding a Legacy Contact and you can choose whoever you want to nominate. Do keep in mind that the feature is available for those who have at least iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, and macOS 12.1 installed on their devices.
What to do if you are a Legacy Contact?
In case you are a Legacy Contact and someone who nominated you has unfortunately passed away then you will have to go to Apple’s dedicated Digital Legacy site. Here you will have to give a copy of the death certificate and the Access Key that was created when you were nominated. Apple will then give you a Legacy Contact Apple ID through which you will be able to access the deceased person’s data.