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How to set up a legacy contact on Mac



How to set up a legacy contact on Mac


Thinking about your mortality or the death of a loved one can be grim, but it is essential that you do so. While traditional estate planning tends to be something we think about later in life and is mostly about physical assets, it’s wise to think about what would happen to your digital information if the worst were to happen.

So much of our lives are lived digitally these days, so it’s crucial that surviving family members can access the data and information of those who are no longer there. Unfortunately, once someone can no longer enter your password, your data may be lost.

Apple intends to solve this problem with its Digital Legacy program. Allows users to declare legacy contacts that can access data stored in their account when they die.

Table of Contents:

What is Apple’s Digital Legacy Program?

Apple’s Digital Legacy Program is an official way to grant access to the information stored in your Apple account after your death.

Here’s how Mike Abbott, vice president of Apple Cloud Services, put it when announcing the feature at WWDC 2021:

“We don’t usually think about this, but it’s important that we can easily pass on information to family or friends when we die. That way, you can now add people to your account as legacy contacts. So when you’re away, they can request access and your information can be passed on quickly and easily.”

Think of all the information and data you have stored in digital form, including photos, messages, contacts, emails, notes, etc. For Apple users, this information is locked behind an Apple ID password. If the account owner hasn’t shared the password, family members won’t be able to access this information after they’re gone.

Instead of being discontinued, Digital Legacy allows users to name friends or family members as legacy contacts who can request a copy of their data in the event of their death.

How to Add a Legacy Contact on Mac

In addition to setting up legacy contacts on iPhone, you can also add family or friends through your Mac. Here’s how to do it on your Mac with macOS Monterey.

  • Click on the Apple icon in your menu bar.
  • Click System Preferences.

    Source: HowHow

  • Click Apple ID.
  • Click Password & Security.

    Source: HowHow

  • Click the Manage… button next to Legacy Contacts.
  • Click Add.

    Source: HowHow

  • Click Add Legacy Contact.
  • If you’re using Family Sharing, you’ll be presented with a list of family members to choose from. Click their name and click Add or click Choose someone else to search for a contact.

    Source: HowHow

  • Click Continue.
  • Choose how you want to share your old contact’s passkey with them by clicking Send message or Print a copy, then click Continue.

    Source: HowHow

  • If you’ve set up a Mac password, you’ll need to enter it along the way to add a legacy contact.

    You can send your legacy contact’s passkey through iMessage, and they can automatically store a copy of that passkey in your Apple ID settings. If they are running an older version of the software, they will be prompted to upgrade.

    Alternatively, you can print a copy of the access key to return it in physical form.

    How to delete a legacy contact on Mac

    Removing a legacy contact is as easy as adding one on Mac. Here’s how.

  • Click on the Apple icon in your menu bar.
  • Click System Preferences.

    Source: HowHow

  • Click Apple ID.
  • Click Password & Security.

    Source: HowHow

  • Click the Manage… button next to Legacy Contacts.
  • Click Details… next to the legacy contact you want to delete.

    Source: HowHow

  • Click Delete Contact.
  • Confirm by clicking Delete contact again.

    Source: HowHow

  • You may need to enter your Mac password to complete the process.

    The contact that you deleted will not be notified, but will no longer appear in your legacy contact list if you have an Apple device that includes this setting. Also, the access key they received when they were added will no longer work.

    careful thought

    We know no one will be around forever, so it’s a good idea to set up legacy contacts so trusted family members and friends can access your important information.

    It’s easy to empathize with surviving loved ones when access to information becomes problematic in the event of death, with precious photos, important notes, contacts and more possibly lost forever.

    Apple’s Digital Legacy feature is the best Mac implementation we’ve seen for this type of information sharing. Once you set it up, you can check one thing off your to-do list. Of course, this doesn’t solve all the problems inherent in estate planning, but it’s a good starting point.

    Updated May 2022: With updates for macOS Monterey.

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