By Last Updated: June 24th, 2022

Apple’s Legacy Contact: Accessing Your Loved One’s Phone After They Die

What is a Legacy Contact?

A Legacy Contact is a person that you designate to have access to your Apple account’s data in the event of your death. So if you’ve ever wondered what happens to your phone after you die, read on to learn how to choose a Legacy Contact and what that means.

How Do I Add a Legacy Contact?

There are just a few requirements to add a legacy contact for your Apple ID:

  1. You need to have an Apple device that’s running iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, or macOS Monterey 12.1, and you must be signed into that device with your Apple ID.
  2. You need to have two-factor authentication activated for your Apple ID.
  3. You must be over the age of 13, although this age requirement to designate a Legacy Contact varies depending on where you live.

You can choose anyone you want to be your designated Legacy Contact;they don’t need an Apple ID or even an Apple device. One caveat: to access your Apple account, they do must be at least 13 years old, though this can be dependent upon country and region.

If you’re using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  1. Navigate to Settings.
  2. Tap your name or profile picture.
  3. Tap Password & Security.
  4. Tap Legacy Contact.
  5. Tap Add Legacy Contact.
  6. Authenticate either with Touch ID, Face ID, or your passcode, if asked to do so.
  7. If you have Family Sharing enabled, you’ll automatically receive suggestions to add those family members. You can either choose one of the family members displayed or you can select Choose Someone Else and select anyone from your contacts list.
  8. After making a selection, tap Next.
  9. A description of how Legacy Contacts works will display. After reading it, tap Continue.
  10. You’ll now be given two options for sharing your Access Key. You can either send your Legacy Contact an iMessage with the information or you can print it. Select one of these options.
  11. Your Legacy Contact is now set.
  12. If you want to designate additional Legacy Contacts, repeat the above steps.

If you’re using a Mac:

  1. Click Apple menu > System Preferences and then click Apple ID.
  2. Click on Password & Security and then click Legacy Contact.
  3. Now click on Add Legacy Contact.
  4. Authenticate either with Touch ID or your Mac password, if asked to do so.
  5. See steps 7 through 12 above for the rest of the process.

What Kind of Data Can I Access Using the Legacy Contact?

The kind of data you can access using the Legacy Contact will depend on what kinds of data the account holder chose to make available to their Legacy Contact. The kinds of data that are potentially available include:

  • Mail
  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Reminders
  • Notes
  • iCloud Photos
  • Messages in iCloud
  • Files stored in iCloud Drive
  • Call History
  • Health Data
  • Voice Memos
  • Safari Bookmarks and Reading List
  • iCloud Backup which can include photos and video, downloaded apps, device settings and other data the account holder has backed up to iCloud

There are kinds of data that cannot be accessed by a Legacy Contact and this includes:

  • Purchased movies, books, music and other licensed media
  • Purchases made within an app like subscriptions, and upgrades
  • Credit card information
  • Logins and other information saved in the user’s keychain

Follow the link to find out more about the data you can and can’t access as a Legacy Contact.

If someone who designated you as a Legacy Contact passes away, you can request access to their Apple account as the designated Legacy Contact. You can request access as the Legacy Contact even if you don’t have an Apple device.

As of 2022, legality regarding ownership of a person’s digital legacy and possessions, as well as Apple’s methods for dealing with them, remains limited.

How Do I Remove a Legacy Contact?

To remove a legacy contact using your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap your name or profile picture.
  3. Tap Password & Security.
  4. Tap Legacy Contact.
  5. Tap the name of the individual you wish to remove as a Legacy Contact.
  6. Tap Remove Contact.
  7. At the warning screen, tap Remove Contact again.

That Legacy Contact will now be removed and their access key will no longer function.

To remove a legacy contact using your Mac:

  1. Click Apple menu > System Preferences and then click Apple ID.
  2. Click on Password & Security and then click Legacy Contact.
  3. Now follow steps 5 through 7 above to complete the removal.

Opal Cremation is Here to Help

Opal Cremation realizes that the passing of a loved one is an extraordinarily difficult time and we’re here to help the friends and family of the departed through it. Our all-inclusive packages for direct cremation services can be customized to the needs of each of our clients. Cremation arrangements can be made either over the phone or online. You can depend on our dedicated care team to guide you through the process every step of the way. We stand ready to help you 24 hours a day.

For more information, you can visit our support center for additional resources and frequently asked questions regarding cremation.

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