March 5, 2014
Two years ago, Anthea Grant bought a new iPad to help her get through her cancer treatments. When the U.K. resident died at age 59, her will stated that her grown children, Josh and Patrick, would split her estate. That’s when things took a strange turn, according to the BBC. The brothers decided that eldest son Patrick should receive his mother’s iPad. They soon discovered the device was locked. Unable to find the Apple ID and password their mother used, the Grants contacted Apple, which requested written consent for the device to be unlocked. "We obviously couldn't get written permission because mum had died,“ Josh said. ”We’ve provided the death certificate, will and solicitor's letter but it wasn't enough.” The Grants were told Apple required a court order to unlock the iPad. Unfortunately, "It's going to have to go through our solicitor and he charges £200 an hour so it's a bit of a false economy,” the younger brother said. I agree. Apple’s security measures are admirable, yes. Unfortunately, they are also inflexible, especially in situations like the one mentioned here. One would expect that a legally-binding will would be more enough for next-of-kin to take ownership of a device protected by iCloud. The fact that a will, death certificate, and letter from a lawyer are still not enough for Apple seems like overkill. For its part, Apple told the BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours program its security measures are designed to prevent unauthorized access to Apple users' online iCloud accounts. This includes personal documents, photos, and messages. As Josh Grant told the BBC, "At 59, my mum was fairly young, I've already lost my dad and it's a bit cold of them not to treat things on a case-by-case basis." My advice: Make sure your will also contains username and password information for any device and/or service you use.