How to set up Apple account access so people can get in after you die

Person using an Apple iPhone

Mario Anzuoni | Reuters

Apple released a big iPhone update on Monday, iOS 15.2, which includes a new feature called Digital Legacy. The change will let you choose specific people who will be able to access your account after you die.

Until now, it’s been very difficult for loved ones to access an Apple account of a family member or friend who died. Without the phone’s passcode or iCloud information, surviving family members sometimes had to get a court order for access to a deceased loved one’s digital data. That access can be helpful if a surviving family member needs phone numbers, emails, passwords, notes and other information.

Apple Digital Legacy


The chosen contacts can access data stored in iCloud, like photos and documents, after the original user dies, so long as they have a special access key and a copy of the death certificate. Digital Legacy users would tap those people most likely to have a copy of the death certificate.

I’ll show you how to set it up. First, make sure you’ve updated to iOS 15.2 by going to Settings > General > Software Update.

Here’s how to set up Digital Legacy

Apple Digital Legacy


  • Open Settings on your iPhone.
  • Tap your name at the top of the page.
  • Select “Password & Security.”
  • Choose “Legacy Contact.”
  • Choose up to five family members or friends.
  • You’ll receive an access code. Print it and keep it in a safe place with your other estate planning documents.
  • Your Digital Legacy contacts will need to provide that code and a death certificate to access your account.
  • Legacy contacts can visit Apple’s website to request access after you die.

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