Last Updated on July 7, 2023
How to access a deceased person’s Apple ID?
If you’ve recently lost someone close to you, you may be wondering how you can request access to their Apple ID to get the data they had saved with it — cherished photos or important files, for example. While Apple is committed to protecting people’s privacy and keeping data secure, it does have options for loved ones to request access to deceased friends’/family members’ Apple IDs. Keep on reading to learn about these options.
Request access with a Legacy Contact access key
Since iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, and macOS 12.1, Apple users have had the option of choosing Legacy Contacts for their Apple ID. When someone is a Legacy Contact for a loved one, should the loved one pass away, the Legacy Contact will be able to access the data linked to their Apple ID, including photos, files, messages, notes, device backups, and more.
If your loved one made you their Legacy Contact, to access their Apple ID data, you will need your Legacy Contact access key and a copy of their death certificate. Depending on which version of Apple software your device is running, the Legacy Contact access key may be saved in your Apple ID settings. However, your loved one may have chosen to keep a copy of your access key with their estate planning documents (in which case you will only receive it after they pass away), sent you a copy of it via email/text, or given you a physical copy.
As a Legacy Contact, if your loved one’s access key is saved in your Apple ID settings, you can request access to their Apple ID directly from your Apple device, but you can also do so by going to Apple’s Digital Legacy webpage. You will need to verify your identity, enter your access key, and upload the death certificate.
For full instructions on how to request access to a loved one’s Apple account using a Legacy Contact access key, click here.
Request access with a court order or other legal documentation
If you have a court order that names you as the rightful inheritor of a loved one’s personal information, in the United States and other places, you can use it to request access to the loved one’s Apple account and the data linked to it.
Please note that there is certain information that the court order will need to specify. For more information regarding this, please click here.
If you have a court order and you would like to request access to a deceased loved one’s Apple account, you can do so by contacting Apple Support.
Apple will always try its best to help
Apple understands that for surviving friends and family members, dealing with matters such as requesting access to a deceased loved one’s data is not something they would ever want to do, however, the company promises to “try to help with requests as much and as quickly as possible.”
If you have any questions regarding how best to go about requesting access to a loved one’s Apple account, it’s best to contact Apple Support directly.
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