Seventy-two-year-old Peggy Bush wanted to download a game to the iPad she shared with her husband David, had succumbed to lung cancer in August 2015 and left behind properties that include the house, the car and certain Apple devices such as an iPad and an Apple computer.
While Bush knows the log-in code of the iPad, she has no information on her late husband’s Apple ID password, so she reached out to Apple with the help of her daughter, Donna Bush.
Bush expected the password recovery process to be relatively straightforward.“I thought it was ridiculous. I could get the pensions, I could get benefits, I could get all kinds of things from the federal government and the other government. But from Apple, I couldn’t even get a silly password. It’s nonsense,” Peggy Bush told Go Public.
Donna Bush offered to help by calling Apple and asking them if they could retrieve the password themselves or at least reset the account.
“I just called Apple thinking it would be a fairly simple thing to take care of, and the person on the phone said, ‘Sure, no problem.’ We just need the will and the death certificate and to talk to Mom,” said Donna.
Donna and Peggy didn’t know that their simple request would actually require them to seek something that is far more than what they could imagine.
According to Donna, Apple wanted them to secure a court order on top of the other documents and details they have submitted to the company. These include the serial numbers of the devices, her late father’s will and a notarized death certificate.
Getting a court order does not only sound ridiculous, but it is also costly. Depending on whether it requires the services of a lawyer, it will cost at least a few hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
After writing a letter to Tim Cook and waiting for several months, Peggy finally had the password reset. She reportedly got herself a laptop, but it’s definitely not an Apple MacBook.
In such cases that involve digital ownership and after-death possession, Apple seemed to be lagging behind compared to other technology companies. For instance, Google has shared on its website how users can recover a Google account using a clearly stated process. In 2015, the company has even openly shared its research on using password security questions to recover an account.
In the case of Apple users who seek transfer of iCloud and Apple ID ownership, the company requires that they contact Apple Support to get assistance.
Apple said that Peggy’s case was a “misunderstanding,” but the company declined to give further comments regarding its policy.