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Question:

Question: What happens to iCloud when I die?

Slightly morbid question I know but I'm in the process of writing a will and I'm curious as to what happens to all my Apple owned or managed assets like my iTunes purchases and my photos in the event of my death? When my grandfather died we simply went from room to room and got things like photo albums and his books but, with a large percentage of my stuff being digital, what happens with regards to ownership?


Given how strict companies like Apple are on things like access, I doubt it's just as simple as leaving my username & password written down somewhere, or is it? And yes, I know I can download files to my computer but what about transferring them across to my benefactor's accounts?


Anyhow, seems like something that's going to crop up more and more in future years.

iPhone 6, iOS 11.4.1

Posted on Aug 17, 2018 11:05 PM

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Answer:
Answer:

Apple's current iCloud Terms of Use page at


https://www.apple.com/ca/legal/internet-services/icloud/en/terms.html


still says the same thing as quoted in 2012:


No Right of Survivorship

Unless otherwise required by law, You agree that your Account is non-transferable and that any rights to your Apple ID or Content within your Account terminate upon your death. Upon receipt of a copy of a death certificate your Account may be terminated and all Content within your Account deleted. Contact iCloud Support at https://support.apple.com/icloud for further assistance.

This seems pretty definite. What Gail suggests would give your survivors the technical ability to access your iCloud account (and not telling Apple about your decease) but this would be a breach of the Terms of Use. if you have important family photos on iCloud I would strongly advise your making copies on somewhere that other people can access then - a data CD or DVD would have its uses here despite being sniffed at by technical whizz-kids.

Their page on Media, i.e. iTunes purchases, does not mention what happens in the even of the 'owner's' death, but we know that music and other purchases are not transferable, though the use of Family Sharing might get round this. The exact position with purchases would be a matter for checking with Apple Legal.

Posted on Aug 18, 2018 6:41 AM

Aug 17, 2018 11:16 PM in response to BenfromHove In response to BenfromHove

It is as simple as leaving your Apple ID and password (and a list of your Trusted Phone Numbers) written down somewhere safe. Of course the Apple ID would need to be changed by the benefactor to an email address that they have access to, and they would have to change all of the Apple account information. But technically, if someone has your Lock Screen passcode, your Apple ID, your passcode, and access to a Trusted Phone Number or Device, then they can access your account.



Best,


GB

Aug 17, 2018 11:16 PM

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Aug 18, 2018 12:34 AM in response to BenfromHove In response to BenfromHove

The specific question ownership of online data and purchases after death is very problematic. This 2012 article in The Guardian looked into the situation at the time:


Do you own your digital content? | Money | The Guardian


Regarding iCloud, they say:


Apple is very clear about ownership of iCloud accounts. It states in its terms and conditions: "You agree that your Account is non-transferable and that any rights to your Apple ID or Content within your Account terminate upon your death. Upon receipt of a copy of a death certificate your Account may be terminated and all Content within your Account deleted."


Regarding iTunes purchases (which wasn't specifically mentioned in the article) the situation with other online purchases seems to be that they are not transferable - the purchaser is leasing them, not purchasing them, and unlike physical CDs and DVDs etc. they can't be bequeathed. (The suggestion in the article that Bruce Willis was considering suing Apple over this appears to have been hot air.)


Things may have changed a bit since 2012 but I wouldn't count on it. The only way to get an authoritative statement would be to contact Apple directly, probably best done by an actual written letter (remember those?):


Apple

One Apple Park Way

Cupertino, CA 95014

Aug 18, 2018 12:34 AM

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Question marked as Solved

Aug 18, 2018 6:41 AM in response to BenfromHove In response to BenfromHove

Apple's current iCloud Terms of Use page at


https://www.apple.com/ca/legal/internet-services/icloud/en/terms.html


still says the same thing as quoted in 2012:


No Right of Survivorship

Unless otherwise required by law, You agree that your Account is non-transferable and that any rights to your Apple ID or Content within your Account terminate upon your death. Upon receipt of a copy of a death certificate your Account may be terminated and all Content within your Account deleted. Contact iCloud Support at https://support.apple.com/icloud for further assistance.

This seems pretty definite. What Gail suggests would give your survivors the technical ability to access your iCloud account (and not telling Apple about your decease) but this would be a breach of the Terms of Use. if you have important family photos on iCloud I would strongly advise your making copies on somewhere that other people can access then - a data CD or DVD would have its uses here despite being sniffed at by technical whizz-kids.

Their page on Media, i.e. iTunes purchases, does not mention what happens in the even of the 'owner's' death, but we know that music and other purchases are not transferable, though the use of Family Sharing might get round this. The exact position with purchases would be a matter for checking with Apple Legal.

Aug 18, 2018 6:41 AM

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Aug 18, 2018 9:36 AM in response to LACAllen In response to LACAllen

You have bought your home and car (finance company excepted). You have leased software and downloaded media. The difference is that the latter can be easily duplicated - if you buy a CD you can sell it at a car boot sale when you are tired of it. If you download a song (assuming it's not DRM'd) you can technically pass it on to someone else but still keep it (which is illegal) - hence the difference in approach. It does get problematic when someone dies, and this hasn't really been approached properly yet.

Aug 18, 2018 9:36 AM

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Question: What happens to iCloud when I die?