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Apple ordered to give iCloud access to relatives of deceased person in Austrian court case

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What you need to know

  • A court in Europe has ordered Apple to give relatives of a deceased person access to their iCloud data.
  • The case was heard in Dornbirn, Austria.
  • Apple has complied with the judgment and agreed to reset the deceased person's password.

A court in Austria has ruled that Apple must provide a relative with access to the iCloud account of a deceased person.

According to reports, Apple was sued in Dornbirn District court. Attorney Stefan Denifl appealed to a ruling from the German Federal Court of Justice, which stated that personal internet content was to be considered part of a person's inheritance. According to Kleine Zeitung

According to a final judgment by the district court in Dornbirn, Apple has to provide an heiress with the access data for a deceased person's user account and iCloud. Attorney Stefan Denifl, who brought the lawsuit, sees it as a precedent in a mailing that could help other Austrian heirs to access Apple products and thus memorabilia.

Apple has reportedly acknowledged the judgment of the court and has agreed to reset the password of the deceased so that the information can be accessed by relatives. According to the report:

Apple, which has its European headquarters in Ireland, has acknowledged the judgment of the Dornbirn district court, according to the press release, and has agreed to reset the heir's password so that it has full access to the user account and iCloud. In the run-up to the lawsuit, several applications were unsuccessful, Denifl reported. The judgment "now also gives other Austrian heirs the opportunity to obtain Apple products from a deceased person through the court. In concrete terms, this also means receiving personal memorabilia that are part of the emotional processing of a death," says the lawyer.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.

2 Comments
  • I don’t like it. There are a lot of things I keep private even from my family. If I want to “share” my online life with my relatives upon my death, then I will give them passwords in my will, or tell them how to obtain them. They should NOT be able to breach my privacy upon my death.
  • I would recommend putting in your will, your express desires that they should not have access, if that is what you want. I would expect a court would have to abide by that. With no directives, I imagine they would decide the way they did in this case.