A mother in England who recently died of cancer left her sons her iPad...but she didn’t leave them her username and password, rendering the expensive Apple tablet essentially worthless.
BBC News reports that Anthea Grant bought the iPad while she was undergoing treatment. Since her death her sons have been unable to unlock the device, even though they’ve provided Apple with a copy of her Will, death certificate and letter from an attorney. Apple also asked for a court order to prove Anthea was indeed the owner of the iPad and iTunes/iCloud account, which could cost the sons a large attorney fee.
Don’t Judge Apple So Fast
While it may seem like Apple is being unfair and heartless, their official policy states that you need written consent from the device owner for it to be unlocked. If the owner is no longer alive it’s impossible to get this consent. As of October, 2013 there have been 170,000,000 iPads sold worldwide. That’s a staggering number of iPads, which leads to huge market for theft and fraud.
While this case seems pretty clear cut, what if an iPad were stolen, the thief provided fake documentation and Apple unlocked it? Once word got out that Apple was duped by a con artist how secure would you feel using their products and services? All it takes is one person to ruin it for the other 169,999,999 of us.
Don’t Worry, This Story Has A Happy Ending
Since the story first ran, Apple has restored the device to factory settings but says they still require a court order to allow access to their late mother’s iCloud account, which could have personal documents, messages and photos. So while this one family’s issue is resolved, not every family can get a powerful media organization like the BBC to write a story about them and contact Apple to help resolve an issue.
In hindsight it seems obvious to write your username and password down somewhere, but at the time we’re sure the Grant family had much more pressing issues. Like dealing with cancer treatments, getting the really important affairs in order and saying goodbye to their mom forever. Most people don’t have the time or inclination to worry about the little things or contemplate the hassle awaiting them once they start to settle an estate.
How To Avoid The Same Hassle
Keep your login information somewhere safe and let someone you trust know where it is. We created Everplans for this purpose, but this isn’t about us. A service like ours can be helpful but it’ll never make dealing with death easy. We just hope to make it a little more manageable. So rather than waste time and energy dealing with Apple or other companies, get all this info stored somewhere safe--and update it every once in a while--so you don’t have to worry about it ever again.