Accessing Mobile Phone Data

The grieving process after a loved one passes is a difficult time for everyone. Being unable to access photographs, videos, and other sentimental items after the death of a loved one can make closure and the grieving process more difficult. At TuckerAllen, we strive to make the period after a loved one passes as smooth and pain-free as possible. Whether it is photographs, messages, or playlists, TuckerAllen can provide solutions to help your loved ones access your digital assets after you have passed. While including passwords with your estate documents is helpful, you can also set up solutions with Apple or Google to help others access your phone after you have passed away.

Company-Provided Solutions

Apple Devices

Apple allows users to add legacy contacts attached to their Apple ID. You can add a legacy contact directly from your iPhone. Apple will generate an access key, which it will then send to your designated legacy contact. To access your phone’s data after you have passed away, your legacy contact will only need: 1) the apple-generated access key; and 2) your death certificate.

Legacy contacts can access your iCloud photos, notes, mail, contacts, calendars, reminders, messages in iCloud, call history, health data, voice memos, files, apps, and device backups. Legacy contacts cannot access any licensed media (including videos and music), payment information, or information you have stored in your keychain (e.g., passwords and credit card numbers).

Please see the link below for detailed instructions on how to add a legacy contact from your iPhone.

Android Phones and Google Accounts

Data on your android phone is tied directly to your Google account. While Google does not offer a legacy contact program for users, it does have an Inactive Account Manager that allows users to share parts of their account data or notify someone if they have been inactive for a certain period. Google’s Inactive Account Manager is customizable, and users can designate backup contacts with whom to share their data and adjust the period of inactivity. Since the Inactive Account Manager covers your entire Google account, you can customize what is shared with your backup contact, from contacts and photos to technical device details.

Google also recommends sharing your phone and Google passwords with any loved ones in the event of your death or incapacity, since Google does not share account passwords with anybody under any circumstances.

Please see the link below for detailed instructions on how to adjust your Google inactive account settings.

In the Event of Incapacity

It is important to save the passwords to your most important digital assets before you pass away. Including passwords in your estate planning documents can help ease the burden of collecting digital account information and prevent lengthy phone calls or back-and-forth email correspondences with technology corporations in the event of your incapacity.

Apple does not allow powers of attorney to access users’ accounts, even if the power of attorney is a designated legacy contact. Google does not give out account passwords under any circumstances.

If you want your loved ones to be able to access your iPhone or Android phone when you are incapacitated, you will need to give them passwords to your accounts. When you draft a will or trust with TuckerAllen, we provide a fillable digital asset form to record passwords, lock screen codes, and other important information required to access your electronic devices and digital assets. This digital asset form is attached to your trust or will, making it a convenient reference for anybody administering your estate.

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