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What happens to my digital data when I die?

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Published 22/07/2021
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Previously on our blog we have answered the question ‘What happens to my social media after I die?’, but this only answers part of our digital data dilemma. What about everything that you store on your phone or in the ever mysterious ‘cloud’?

We all fill our phones with important memories in the form of photos, videos, and messages, and some of us are even savvy enough to back it all up in the cloud, but what good is all that if you pass away and nobody can get access to any of it?

How Apple are helping to pass on your digital legacy

Amy Crowther of Mirror.co.uk writes of how Apple are planning on introducing a new lifeline for your digital legacy in their upcoming iOS 15 update. This new feature will allow you to choose a ‘legacy contact’ who will be able to access your account and personal information on the unfortunate event of your passing.

This means that anything you have stored in the cloud will be accessible by your named legacy contacts when you die, and those precious photos will no longer be lost forever. Previously the only way for someone else to gain access would have involved a court order and a grant of probate, which would have been a lot of stress and cost at an already difficult time.

The only thing this legacy contact will not be able to do is to access your physical phone if you have a passcode on it. If you do have a passcode on your phone, it’s a good idea to include this in a ‘digital will’ if you do want to nominate someone to have access to it after you die.

What is a ‘digital will’?

The less technologically minded might be forgiven for thinking that it is short for Digital William, but it is actually as simple as a Last Will and Testament that determines the fate of your digital presence after you die. This can encompass everything from your various email accounts, login details to your social media, and that all important cloud storage. A digital will allows you to pass all this information on to a legacy contact without having to go into each app or account and set them all up individually.

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