How to request access to a deceased family member's Apple account

This article explains how to request access to or delete someone’s Apple ID and the data stored with it after they have passed away.

Every day, people all over the world save important documents, memories, and more on their Apple devices and in iCloud. At Apple, we consider privacy to be a fundamental human right, and our users expect us to help keep their information private and secure at all times. In the unfortunate event of a customer’s death, Apple provides options for their loved ones to request access to or delete their Apple ID and the data stored with it.

While we may also be able to help remove Activation Lock from devices that use your loved one’s original Apple ID, their iPhone, iPod, and iPad will need to be restored to factory settings before they can be used with another Apple ID. Please note that devices locked with a passcode are protected by passcode encryption, and Apple can't help remove the passcode lock without erasing the device.

For security, Apple requires and verifies legal documentation before we can assist with a deceased person’s account. This generally includes a death certificate,* and may also require a court order or other documentation. The requirements vary by country and region. We have great sympathy for surviving family members and try to help with requests as much and as quickly as possible.

If you have a Legacy Contact access key

Starting in iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, and macOS 12.1, Apple users can add a Legacy Contact for their Apple ID. Adding a Legacy Contact is the easiest, most secure way to give someone they trust access to the data they stored in their Apple account after they pass away.

If you're a Legacy Contact for a family member or friend who passed away—and you have both the unique access key they created when they added you as a Legacy Contact and their death certificate*—you can start a request right on your device or on the Digital Legacy - Request Access page.

If you don't have a Legacy Contact access key, you can still ask to delete an account or request access to an account using the options below.

To add a Legacy Contact, store a Legacy Contact access key, or make a Legacy Contact request on your device, you need a device with iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, or macOS 12.1 or later.

If you want to delete an Apple ID permanently

If you'd like to request the permanent deletion of an Apple ID and data for someone who passed away, you'll need your Apple ID, the Apple ID for the account that you want to delete, and required legal documentation for your country or region.

You can start a request to delete a deceased person's Apple ID on the Digital Legacy - Delete Apple ID page.

If you're not sure whether the email address that you have for the deceased person is associated with an Apple ID, you can use to check. If you don’t have an Apple ID of your own, you can create one.

Request access with a court order or other legal documentation

In the U.S. and other locales, you can request access to a deceased person’s Apple ID and data with a court order that names you as the rightful inheritor of your loved one’s personal information. In some jurisdictions, such as France, Germany, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, alternative documentation and process instead of a court order are accepted. Where applicable, the court order needs to specify:

  • The name and Apple ID of the deceased person.

  • The name of the next of kin who is requesting access to the decedent’s account.

  • That the decedent was the user of all accounts associated with the Apple ID.

  • That the requestor is the decedent’s legal personal representative, agent, or heir, whose authorization constitutes "lawful consent."

  • That Apple is ordered by the court to assist in the provision of access to the decedent’s information from the deceased person's accounts. The court order should be addressed to the relevant Apple entity.

If you have a court order with this information, or if you need additional help, please contact Apple Support.

About estate planning

We encourage Apple users to consider adding a Legacy Contact for your Apple ID or an inheritance plan to your will that covers the personal information you store on your devices and in iCloud.

This can simplify the process of acquiring a legal order and reduce delay and frustration for family members during a difficult time.

Learn more

* Documentation requirements might vary by country or region. For example, in Japan, you might need a family certificate indicating the death of an account holder instead of a death certificate.

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