No one likes talking about this, but unless you share your login information with someone, your Facebook, Google, and Apple accounts are in limbo for eternity. Unless you set things up ahead of time.

Apple makes it nearly impossible to sign in to someone’s account without their device, their username, password, and passcode. Brand new in iOS 15.2, you can set up legacy contacts. You’ll find it in settings by tapping your account at the top, then Password & Security. This gives someone you trust access to your data.

You’ll send them a QR code as an access key and should you pass away, they can request access to your account by providing Apple the key and a copy of the death certificate. Or, you can print out the key for anyone who doesn’t use an Apple device or leave a printed copy in your estate planning documents.

This allows someone to access any data stored with Apple such as contacts, messages, email, and photos. They’ll have 3 years of access before Apple deletes your account and data.

Google’s feature is called “Inactive Account Manager”. You choose up to 10 people. Google determines a person’s death when they don’t use dor another Google service for a period of time. Google sends an “are you okay?” email and if you don’t respond, it’ll send out messages you write out ahead of time to those trusted contacts. giving them access to your Google accounts. Google even lets someone reply to emails from the grave sort of. If a deceased person receives an email after their account is marked inactive, the sender will get your pre-written response. Which can be pretty creepy I guess.

You may already know about Facebook’s Legacy contact. Name a friend who can access and memorialize the profile when you die. All of that information can be found in settings and Facebook may have prompted you to set it up to keep your Facebook profile from being overrun with spam.

It isn’t something anyone likes to think about, but without using these services, loved ones left behind will have to deal with trying to get access to your data. So set these up ahead of time… just in case.

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