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LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: The Facebook app logo is displayed on an iPad next to a picture of the Facebook logo on an iPhone (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Not a fun topic, but in today’s digital age, we have to plan for what happens to all our online accounts, data, notes, photos, videos, playlists, blogs, subscriptions, etc – once we’re gone.

The New York Post just did a story on tech things you should set up now to protect your “digital legacy.”  Or in other words – in case you die.

It may sound silly, and you really may not even think about it, but so much of our life is online, and password protected now.  So the point is to make sure your loved ones can access it all – or CAN’T access it – depending on what it is.

Here are the three things you might want to set up immediately:

1.  A “Legacy Contact” on your Apple account.  Apple added a feature last year that lets other people access everything in your Apple account if you die, including photos, messages, and notes.  Open Settings and tap your name.

  • Go to Password & Security > Legacy Contact.
  • Tap Add Legacy Contact. You may have to use Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode to authenticate.
  • If you’re in a Family Sharing group, you can choose a group member. Or you can tap Choose Someone Else to add someone from your Contacts.
  • Select the person from your Contacts. Tap Continue.
  • You’ll be asked how you want to share your access key. Select Print Access Key or Send Access Key.
  • If you choose to send the key digitally, Apple will create a message letting your contact know you’ve added them as your legacy contact. Tap Send.


2. Your “Memorialization Settings” on Facebook.  They let you name a legacy contact who can write posts for you, update your profile pic, and get a copy of everything you’ve ever posted.

  • On desktop: When you’re signed into Facebook, go to Settings & Privacy > Settings and look for Memorialization Settings.
  • On mobile: Select the three-lined menu option in the bottom right. Scroll down to Settings & Privacy. Tap to open that, then select Settings. From the Account menu at the top of the next screen, select Personal and Account Information > Account Ownership and Control. You’ll see Memorialization Settings. Click to select your legacy contact and notify your contact they’re now in that role.
  • Once you have your legacy contact set, go to the Memorialization Settings. You can decide whether the person you chose can download a copy of what you’ve shared on your feed, including posts, photos, videos, and profile information.

Once a year, you will receive a reminder of your chosen person as your legacy contact. If you’re sure your person won’t change or that you’ll remember to change them if need be, you can click “stop annual reminders” in the Annual Reminder section.

If you’d rather have your account deleted after you pass away, get to the Memorialization Settings page, and scroll down. Right above the Close button, there is an option you can click that says, “Request that your account be deleted after you pass away.”

Don’t have a copy of all the photos and videos you’ve uploaded to Facebook? Here’s how to get them.


3.  Automatically wipe your Google history.  This one’s for that stuff you might NOT want loved ones to see.  In your Google account’s “Web & App Activity” settings, there’s an option to auto-delete stuff every three months.

Google auto-deletes account records after 18 months by default. If you want to shorten that window, you can in a few steps.

  • Go to your Google Activity controls and log in with your Google account.
  • Under Web & App Activity, you’ll see Auto-delete. Be sure this is turned On.
  • Click the arrow to choose your preferred timeframe: 3 months, 18 months, or 36 months.

Seems crazy that we have to worry about this stuff now, but make sure you have someone you trust – to delete, or save, THAT stuff.