3 steps to securing your tech life before you die
I know – it’s a grim topic. But in today’s digital age, we have to plan what will happen to all our accounts, data, notes, photos, videos, websites, playlists, blogs and online subscriptions once we are gone.
Speaking of subscriptions, more and more families are ditching streaming services. Money is tight and you might want to consider canceling the ones you use the least. Tap or click here for proven ways to lower your streaming, cable and internet bills.
I’m not just talking about business documents or tax forms on the data side. Everyone should have a plan to protect their precious photos and videos. I hear too many people on my national radio show who have lost everything.
Follow these steps now to ensure your accounts are in safe hands after your death.
Your Apple Account
Apple’s Legacy Contact finally debuted with iOS 15.2 as a safe and secure option for giving someone access to data stored in your Apple account after you die. This includes photos, messages, notes, files, apps, and device backups.
Some information, such as movies, music, books, or subscriptions you purchased with your Apple ID and data stored in Keychain (payment information and passwords), can’t be accessed by a Legacy Contact.
You can add more than one inherited contact, and all will be able to access the account to make decisions. The person must be at least 13 years old and will receive an access key when you designate them as your legacy contact.
Here’s how to set it up on your iPhone:
• To open Settings and press your name.
• Go to Password and Security > Legacy contact.
• Faucet Add a legacy contact. You may need to use Face ID, Touch ID, or your password to authenticate.
• If you are in a Family Sharing group, you can choose a group member. Or you can press Choose someone else to add someone from your contacts.
• Select the person of your contacts. Faucet Continue.
• You will be asked how you want to share your access key. To select Print access key or Send access key.
• If you choose to send the key digitally, Apple will create a message informing your contact that you have added them as a former contact. Faucet To send.
Want to be prepared? Don’t miss this technical tutorial: automatically alert your loved ones in the event of an emergency.
Do the same for Facebook
On Facebook, you can name a Legacy Contact who can write messages, update your profile picture, and get a copy of everything you did on Facebook after you died.
• On computer: When you are logged in to Facebook, go to Settings and privacy > Settings and seek Commemoration settings.
• On mobile: select the three line menu option at bottom right. Scroll to Settings and privacy. Touch to open it, then select Settings. From the Account menu at the top of the next screen, select Personal and account information > Account Ownership and control. You will see the memorialization settings. Click to select your old contact and notify your contact that they are now in that role.
Once you have your old set of contacts, go to remember settings. You can decide whether the person you choose 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 the person chosen as a legacy contact. If you are certain that your persona will not change or that you will remember to change it if necessary, you can click on “stop annual reminders” in the Annual Reminder section.
If you’d rather have your account deleted after you die, go to the Memorial Settings page and scroll down. Just above the Close button, you can click an option that says, “Request deletion of your account after you die.”
Don’t have a copy of all the photos and videos you’ve uploaded to Facebook? Here’s how to get them.
Automatically clear your search history and location data
Let’s focus on protecting your privacy even after you leave when it comes to Google. You probably have a few things in your search, watch, and location history that you’d rather keep private. Anyone with access to your account will only see what you want them to see by setting up automatic deletion.
Google automatically deletes account records after 18 months by default. If you want to shorten this window, you can do it in a few steps.
• Go to your Google activity controls and sign in with your Google account.
• Below Web and app activityyou will see Automatic deletion. Make sure this is rotated On.
• Click on the arrow to choose your preferred period: 3 Three months, 18 months or 36 months.
You can take other steps, including creating a digital checklist that acts as a summary of all your online accounts, passwords, and resources. Tap or click here for steps to create and share yours.
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Bonus Tip: Save your texts, where to put the router, protect naked photos
I have lots of great advice in this episode of Kim Komando Today. First, you will learn how to never lose an SMS again. I will also tell you how to protect your nude photos from hackers. (This was based on a real listener question!) Plus, where to put your router for the best Wi-Fi, how to find spyware, and some other tech tips that will make your digital life easier.
Check out my “Kim Komando Today” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.
Discover all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Technical steps ensure your accounts are in order before you die.