What the Tech: Passing along your Apple and Facebook accounts
When someone passes away, it’s very difficult for them to get photos, files, and information without a username and password - unless you take a few steps ahead of time.
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - You may have a will to leave your possessions behind when you die, but passing down your digital life is a lot more difficult, and most people never even think about it.
We showed you how to create a digital will with your Google accounts, but have you ever wondered how you could pass along your Facebook and Apple accounts if you die?
Apple and Facebook make a big deal about privacy. Forget your username and password. You know how difficult it is to get access to your accounts. When someone passes away, it’s very difficult for them to get photos, files, and information without a username and password - unless you take a few steps ahead of time.
Apple allows users to set up what it calls “Legacy contacts.”
You’ll find it in settings under password and security. Select your contacts and send them a QR code as an access key. Should you pass away, they can use the QR code and a copy of the death certificate to request access to photos and other data they can download from the iCloud account.
You can also print out the QR code and leave it in your estate planning documents. You may already be familiar with Facebook’s legacy contacts that allow someone to memorialize the Facebook profile if they pass away. You’ll select someone and Facebook will alert them that you’ve named them a legacy contact. When you pass away, that friend can manage your profile, and request the account be memorialized or removed.
Without setting this up in advance, someone will need to jump through more hoops to memorialize the account and could not download Facebook data such as photos for posterity. They’ll have to submit proof they’re related to the deceased and provide a death certificate as proof of death.
Again, the settings for Apple and Facebook must be set up ahead of time and by the account owner. You may have thousands of photos on your phone, the iCloud, and even more on Facebook. Memories that are treasured by friends and family. If you leave them behind.
By some reports, there are more than 30 million Facebook accounts of people who are no longer alive, and in the next 30 to 40 years Facebook accounts owned by dead people will outnumber living users.
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