How to Delete Your (or a Deceased Loved One’s) Apple ID

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If you’ve been a user of an iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer, you likely have quite a lot of data tied to your Apple ID account. That being said, it is completely fair to decide that your Apple ID is no longer something you want to deal with. Once you’ve removed photos, music, or videos from iCloud that you wish to keep, you can proceed with terminating the account permanently.

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This can be a tricky situation if you are trying to delete the Apple ID and associated accounts of a deceased loved one. Handling digital assets after death can be difficult and complicated. This is especially true if you want to retain any of the data or purchases from the account. In the end, there will be some items that cannot be transferred out of the Apple account even after death.

How to Delete Your Apple ID

Like many other services, the Apple interface will attempt to get you to choose “temporary deactivation” instead of deleting your Apple ID. This is an option to consider if you aren’t certain about deletion yet, but if you are, here’s the procedure.

Tip: Ensure that your digital assets are taken care of according to your wishes by making a will. You can easily create one from home with an online will maker like Trust & Will.

Cancel any subscriptions and back-up data

Many people have subscriptions, messaging apps, or services connected to their Apple IDs. Apple IDs are tied to more accounts and services than the average online identifier.

Because of this, it’s important to do your due diligence before you begin the deletion process. Once you are sure that you’ve evaluated all the data and billing that is connected to your Apple ID, you can proceed.

Sign in to the data and privacy page

Your best bet for getting your account deleted is to go to the Apple data and privacy page. Once you’ve logged in, there should be an option that says “request to delete your account” at the bottom of the page.

Request to delete your account and follow the prompts

Follow the directions given as you proceed toward deleting your account. They’ll want to know why you want to delete your account, and they’ll give you more information about the consequences of deletion. In the end, you’ll enter a way for them to contact you until the account is deleted.

They’ll also give you a unique code that allows you to make inquiries about the account. With that code, your Apple ID should be slated for deletion.

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How to Permanently Delete a Deceased Person’s Apple ID

Apple IDs are important pieces of data, often connected to payment methods, ownership of books, music, movies, and more. Apple is going to want substantial proof that an account holder is dead before deleting their account.

When you go to permanently delete a deceased person’s Apple ID, you need to have the authority. This is especially true if you are attempting to download any of the deceased's music or books. Be prepared for the possibility that ownership may not pass on according to purchase agreements.

Tip: You can continue a loved one's digital legacy with a virtual memorial on a platform like GatheringUs. They even have specialists who can guide and support you through the planning process.

Reach out to Apple Support

There is no easy way to delete an Apple ID through their website. Instead, contact Apple Support and begin the process of explaining who you are and your role in the estate. Find out what you need to provide and how to get those documents to them.

An Apple representative should contact you with an outline of how to submit documentation. They should also have information about what, if anything, you may be eligible to download or transfer to a different Apple account.

Provide requested documentation

To delete an Apple ID, they’ll need clear proof. You’ll need to submit a death certificate to Apple. They may also ask for other information to prove that you are authorized to make this decision.

While you can certainly request a transfer of files, most companies don't guarantee the ability to transfer music or other data. Even if your deceased loved one wanted you to have those items, they may no longer be accessible. Some of the licenses for purchased items, like apps, are non-transferable.

Deleting an Apple ID: Frequently Asked Questions

There are a variety of special cases that might be handled differently. However, the general path is to contact Apple Support if any of the above processes have changed or don’t work for you.

Can you delete your Apple ID without a password?

You can make a request to Apple Support. Unless there are mitigating circumstances or you can answer challenge questions related to your account, they are unlikely to allow you to delete your account without a password. This is more wiggle room if you are trying to delete an account of a deceased loved one.

Can you delete it from your phone, tablet, or a desktop computer?

The privacy website can be accessed from a phone, tablet, or desktop computer. You may find that a laptop or desktop makes it easier to quickly toggle to your email or take notes.

How can you remove payment methods from your Apple ID or iTunes?

If you want to remove your payment methods, access the app store on your phone or computer. When you click on your Apple ID, you should see “Manage Payments.” Here you can make adjustments, including re-ordering or deleting your desired payment methods.

You can’t delete your payment methods if you have an unpaid balance or ongoing subscription. Resolve the issues first, and you should be able to delete the last payment method. Contact Apple Support if you think you should be able to delete the final payment method but the option isn’t available.

If you're deleting a loved one's Apple ID, it's important to pay close attention to how you handle their financial details. For more information on what to do after a loved one passes, review our comprehensive post-loss checklist. You don't have to make these decisions alone. 

Leaving an Apple Account Behind

As you can see, deleting an Apple ID isn’t particularly easy even if you have all the information handy. This is a great reason to use a password manager and share it with someone you trust. Even though it may seem unlikely, you would save your loved ones many hours by making sure they can access your accounts and delete them according to your desires.

The digital afterlife is a new world for all of us, but choosing to organize your accounts, including your Apple ID, will help everyone involved, including you. Start end-of-life planning today so that you have all your documentation available when you need it.

If you're looking to delete more accounts for a deceased loved one, read our guides on deleting Airbnb accountdeleting Skype accounts, and deleting Uber accounts.


Sources

  1. “Privacy Website.” Apple Privacy. Apple. privacy.apple.com/account
  2. RPeters99. “Dissolving an Apple ID for the deceased.” Apple Communities. Apple. 8 March 2016. discussions.apple.com/thread/7487720.

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