3 technical steps you need to do before you die

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I know – it’s a gloomy subject. But in today’s digital age, we need to plan what happens to all of our online accounts, data, notes, photos, videos, websites, playlists, blogs, and subscriptions when we’re gone.

Speaking of subscriptions, more families are dropping streaming services. The money is scarce and you may want to consider canceling the ones you spend 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 from too many people in my national radio program who have lost everything.

Take these steps now to make sure your accounts are in the right hands after you pass away.

Your Apple account

Apple’s Legacy Contact finally debuted with iOS 15.2 as a safe and secure option to give anyone access to data stored on your Apple account after you die. This includes photos, messages, notes, files, apps, and backup of the device.

Some information – such as movies, music, books, or subscriptions you purchased with your Apple ID and data stored in the keychain (payment information and passwords) – cannot be accessed by an older contact.

You can add more than one older contact and everyone will be able to access the account to make decisions. The person must be 13 years or older and will receive an access key when you designate them as your older contact.

To set it up on your iPhone:

  • Open Settings and tap your name.
  • Go to Password and security > Older contact.
  • Press Add older contact. You may need Face ID, Touch ID or your password to authenticate.
  • If you are in a family sharing group, you can select a group member. Or you can press Choose another to add someone from your contacts.
  • Select the person from your contacts. Press Continue.
  • You will be asked how you want to share your passkey. choose Print passkey or Send access key.
  • If you choose to send the key digitally, Apple will create a message telling your contact that you added them as your older contact. Press Send.

Do you want to be prepared? Do not miss this Tech How-to: Automatically alerts your loved ones in an emergency.

You can add more than one older contact to your Apple account.

You can add more than one older contact to your Apple account.
(AP Photo / Jeff Chiu)

Do the same for Facebook

  • On Facebook, you can name an older contact who can write posts, update your profile picture and get a copy of everything you have done on Facebook after you have passed.
  • On the desktop: Once logged in to Facebook, go to Settings and privacy > Settings and look for Memorial settings.

On mobile: Select menu with three lines option at the bottom right. Scroll down to Settings and privacy. Press to open it, then select Settings. From the account menu at the top of the next screen, select Personal information and account information > Account ownership and control. You will see Memorial settings. Click to select your old contact and notify your contact that they are now in that role.

Once you have set up your old contact, go to the Memorial settings. You can decide if the person you selected can download a copy of what you 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 heir contact. If you are sure that your person will not change, or that you will remember to change them if necessary, you can click “stop annual reminders” in the Annual Reminder section.

If you would rather have your account deleted after you have passed away, go to the Memorial Settings page and scroll down. Just above the Close button, there is an option you can click that says, “Request that your account be deleted once you have passed away.”

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

A smartphone with the Facebook logo.

A smartphone with the Facebook logo.

Automatically delete your search history and location data

Let’s focus on protecting your privacy, even after you’re gone when it comes to Google. You probably have a few things in your search, view, and placement history that you prefer to keep private. Anyone with access to your account will only see what you want them to see by setting up auto-delete.

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

  • Go to your Google Activity control and sign in with your Google Account.
  • Under Web and app activity you can see Delete automatically. Be sure this is reversed On.
  • Click the arrow to select your preferred time frame: 3 months, 18 months or 36 months.

You can take several steps, including creating a digital checklist that serves as an overview of all your accounts, passwords, and online assets. Tap or click here for steps to create and share your own.

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Bonus tip: Save your texts where you need to place the router, protect nude photos

I have received a lot of good advice in this section of Kim Komando Today. First, you will learn how to never lose a text message again. I also want to tell you how to protect your nude photos from hackers. (This was based on a real listening question!) Plus, where to place your router for the best Wi-Fi, how to find spyware and a few other technical 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, “Command.”

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s National Radio Program and press or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or click or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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Learn about all the latest technology at The Kim Komando Show, the country’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim accepts calls and advises on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

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