Naming a Legacy Contact for Your Apple Account from Austin Estate Planning Attorney Liz Nielsen

Apple Legacy Contact

If you have an Apple account, did you know that you can now name a Legacy Contact?  This is an important step to take to ensure your family will be able to access your digital legacy once you are no longer here. Apple, in iOS 15.2, has made it easier for your loved ones to access your digital data by adding the Legacy Contact feature. Your Apple Legacy Contact will have access to your digital legacy, at least as far as it is managed by the company.  Your contact will be able to access the data stored in your Apple account after your death. The data in your account may include photos, messages notes, files, contacts, calendar events, apps you’ve downloaded, device backups, and more.

Your Legacy Contact can be anyone you choose, and you can designate more than one Legacy Contact.  They don’t even need an Apple ID or an Apple device.

How to Add a Legacy Contact

Adding the Legacy Contact takes just a few steps, but you will need to ensure that both you and your Legacy Contact are running a recent version of iOS.

  • First, go to the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Next, tap on your profile picture to get to your Apple ID settings.
  • Then, click on “Password & Security.”
  • Near the bottom of the page, you’ll find a button for “Legacy Contact.”  Click that, and then click “Add Legacy Contact.”
  • Then select a person and tap Next.  As your legacy contact, your selected person will be able to access the data stored in your account after your death.
  • Then, choose how to share your Access Key.  You can send your contact an iMessage which includes your key, or you can print a copy of it.  If you print a copy, it is a good idea to keep it safe with your other estate documents.

You can learn more about adding a Legacy Contact for your Apple ID on this page from Apple.

What To Do if You Are a Legacy Contact For Someone Else

If you have been designated as someone’s Legacy Contact and they pass away, you will need to file a request to access their digital data.  To file an access request after your loved one has passed away, you’ll need:

  • The access key that was generated when you were selected as their Legacy Contact
  • The death certificate for the person who passed away

Once Apple grants you access, you’ll have access to the data for a limited time – three years from when the first legacy account request is approved.  After that, the account is permanently deleted.

Removing Someone as your Legacy Contact

If you decide that you want to remove someone as your Legacy Contact, you can do so anytime in your Apple ID settings.  You will go to Settings → click on your profile picture → Password & Security.  Under Legacy Contact settings, you can chose the contact’s name to see more options, including removing them as a Legacy Contact.  They won’t receive a notification of this decision, but you also won’t appear in their Legacy Contact list if they have an Apple device that includes that setting.

Making Plans for Your Legacy

Crafting an estate plan is often a time to review the property you have and to make decisions on what should happen. It’s important to make sure you don’t forget about your online life too. If you have an estate plan that should consider your online life, or if you’ve never crafted an estate plan and would like to learn more reach out and let us help you draft the perfect plan for you. Nielsen Law PLLC provides family focused estate planning to individuals and families in Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and the Central Texas area.  For more information and to learn about our firm, please contact us.