Pass iPhone data to loved ones with Legacy Contacts

Starting with iOS 15.2, Apple includes a way to add Legacy Contacts to your iCloud account that will give friends or family access to most of your data after you pass away. Let’s look at how to pass iPhone data to loved ones, what’s included, what’s not, how the process works, and more.

Here’s how Apple describes the Legacy Contact feature. Notably, iCloud Keychain with passwords and payment details, Apple Pay, and purchased media are not available to be shared:

Adding a Legacy Contact is the easiest, most secure way to give someone they trust access to the data they stored in their Apple account after they pass away. This data may include photos, messages, notes, files, apps they downloaded, device backups, and more. Certain information, like movies, music, books, or subscriptions they purchased with their Apple ID, and data stored in their Keychain, like payment information and passwords, can’t be accessed by a Legacy Contact.

Here’s the full list of data that is and isn’t shared when using Legacy Contacts.

One important thing to keep in mind, a Legacy Contact will need an access key (generated in the process) as well as a death certificate (verified by Apple) to access data with this method.

And of course, you can also include things like your Apple ID email and password, and account backup codes in a will alongside using Legacy Contacts as a backup.

  • Running at least iOS 15.2, open the Settings app
  • Tap your name at the top
  • Choose Password & Security
  • Tap Legacy Contact
  • Choose Add Legacy Contact and follow the prompts
  • You can choose to share the unique access code by text message or print it out

After setting up a Legacy Contact, you’ll see them listed on the Legacy Contact page. Tap a person to view their access key.

Repeat the process to add more than one Legacy Contact.

How to remove an iCloud Legacy Contact

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap your name at the top
  • Choose Password & Security
  • Tap Legacy Contact
  • Choose the person you’d like to remove
  • Tap Remove Contact

How to access iPhone data after a loved one passes away

If you’re a Legacy Contact with an access code and need to retrieve a loved one’s data:

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