Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac:
One of the features Apple announced for iOS 15 is Legacy Contacts, a way to ensure that your digital life outlives you – if you would like it to.
The company hasn’t yet launched it, saying only that it is “coming in a software update to iOS 15,” but there are signs that Apple is preparing for its introduction.
From Apple’s iOS 15 features page, in the Apple ID section:
Digital Legacy program
The Digital Legacy program allows you to designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your account and personal information in the event of your death.
As Ben mentioned, this text is marked with the “Coming in a software update to iOS 15” footnote.
The ability to mark a contact (or set of contacts) as Legacy Contacts is long overdue. When my Mom died last year, we were unable to retrieve the data on her iPhone, including years of pictures she’d taken.
When she first bought the iPhone, someone at the Apple Store helped her set up a new Apple ID, which we didn’t realize until we tried to access her phone after she was gone. We pushed, but were told we had to get a court order to get Apple to give us access to her Apple ID, intimidating at normal times, beyond us during the pandemic.
The option to designate a Legacy Contact should be part of the normal startup for any devices that store important personal info, whether Apple, Android, or any other device.