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(Pocket-lint) - You probably store a lot of information on your Apple devices and in iCloud. You might even want friends or loved ones to be able to access your data and beloved memories after you're gone.

If that's the case, you can just set up Digital Legacy. Here's how.

What is Apple Digital Legacy?

Apple's Digital Legacy is a new feature that lets you pass down your information to family and friends if you pass away.

You can add up to five "Legacy Contacts" to your iCloud account. So, when you're gone, those contacts can simply request access with an access key, and then the information stored in your iCloud will be handed over to them. 

When will Apple Digital Legacy be available?

The ability to add Legacy Contacts is currently live, thanks to the release of the iOS 15.2 and Monterey 12.1 software updates. 

How Digital Legacy and Legacy Contacts work

Add a Legacy Contact to your account

You can add a Legacy Contact from your iPhone and from your Mac.

For iOS devices: Open Settings app > [Your Name] > Password and Security. For Mac: Open System Preferences > Apple ID > Password & Security.

From there, under Legacy Contact, you'll see the options and you'll be able to follow the instructions to add a Legacy Contact.

If you use Family Sharing, you can choose a family member from the list, but you can add someone else using their email or phone number too. As mentioned, you can add up to five Legacy Contacts you trust to have access to the data in your account after your death.

Request access to a loved one's data

If you're someone's Legacy Contact, you will be able to request access to their data via Digital Legacy but you will need to have a copy of their access key.

When setting up a Legacy Contact, your loved one will need to notify contacts chosen and share the access key. This can be done via Messages, after which a copy of the access key will automatically be stored in the contact's Apple ID, if they accept the invitation. If an invitation to be a Legacy Contact is declined, the person setting up the contact will be notified and they can choose someone else.

It's also possible to print the access key, send a PDF of the Legacy Contact settings page or save a copy with your estate planning documents.

You will need to provide a copy of a death certificate to actually request access, however.

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How to find and view your loved one's data

Once your request is approved, the activation lock on your loved one's Apple device will be removed, and then you will be able to access their personal data on icloud.com or download a copy from privacy.apple.com.

On an iOS device or iPadOS device, you can even restore their data from an iCloud Backup. You can access their iCloud data on a Mac, too.

What sort of data is accessible?

You will be able to access your loved one's iCloud data and Apple ID account data. This includes things like Photos, Notes, and Mail.

You will not be able to access or view their payment information, subscriptions, licensed media, or data stored in Keychain. Again, all this data is accessible either from the web or from Apple devices, so you have options.

Will your loved one's data be available forever?

No, once you request access, Apple will give you an expiration date. After that date, their account and data will be deleted.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.