Friend passed away unexpectedly, mother would like info/get into phone

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Nyy8, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. Nyy8 macrumors 6502a

    Nyy8

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Location:
    New England
    #1
    Hi,

    Fairly unique situation we are in here. 5 months ago, I had a friend pass away unexpectedly. Literally just died sitting in his chair, turns out he had an underlying heart problem that was never diagnosed. The mother had been under extreme stress the last few months, and we are only now getting to his phone.

    I'm not looking for info how to unlock the phone, yet info on the process to get the information off of it. The mother was his legal guardian, she has death certificates, she has papers stating she is the executor of the will. All of that stuff. Anything Apple would request she has.

    But how do we get the ball rolling on this? He was a minor (17), so even if the phone was "his" in a sense, from a legal standpoint, he was on his parents cell plan and the plan was in their name. Not sure if this complicates anything.

    I thank anyone for any advice they can give on the situation here. I understand it's a fairly unique one.

    The iPhone is a 5s, running iOS 8.1 or 8.2. Whatever the latest version was when he passed.
     
  2. CNeufeld macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 25, 2009
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    #2
    Did she try calling Apple Support? What kind of security did your friend have on his phone?

    And just something to consider... I'm not sure I'd want my mother to be the first person to look through my phone if I was to pass away... Something to be said for privacy, and not leaving a picture of my junk as my mom's last memory of me. Maybe you should offer to go through it before she does?

    C
     
  3. PNutts macrumors 601

    PNutts

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    Jul 24, 2008
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, US
    #3
    Sorry for the loss of your friend. Post back if starting the process is different that what's already been posted so the next time it comes up it'll be here. Thx.
     
  4. CNeufeld macrumors 6502a

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    Edmonton, AB
    #4
    BTW... There was a recent thread in here about someone who put in a new passcode when drunk, and even though she had all sorts of proof of ownership on the phone, there didn't seem to be much that Apple could do for her in terms of recovering the contents of the phone. You might want to do a search through here. It was within the last month or so that she posted.

    C
     
  5. Nyy8 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nyy8

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    New England
    #5
    Sometime this week, she is going to take it to the Apple store and see what they say about it. That's our next plan of attack here
     
  6. CNeufeld macrumors 6502a

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    Edmonton, AB
    #6
    I would phone Apple Support first, if I was her. But that's just my first inclination. They would likely have a second tier of support more readily available than someone in the store.

    C
     
  7. paulgandersman macrumors regular

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    Jul 4, 2010
    #7
    My guess is they won't be able to do much for your at the Apple Store. You're probably going to have to call AppleCare, get told they can't do anything and then demand to speak to a senior advisor and keep working your way up the chain until you get someone who can help.
     
  8. CNeufeld macrumors 6502a

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    #8
  9. intofx macrumors regular

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    Jun 7, 2010
    #9
    Apples biggest thing is privacy and security. Condolences to you and the family but they are out of luck. Apple has no way of unlocking phones. The encryption keys are on the phone with no access unless you have the password or touchid
     
  10. Kyotoma macrumors 68000

    Kyotoma

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    Nov 11, 2010
    Location:
    Carnegie and Ontario
    #10
    Not practical. User ended up restoring her phone.

    I've not heard of an official policy detailing this. It'll be interesting to learn if they can do anything or if they're unfortunately out of luck.
     
  11. kevroc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    #11
    I agree with this. You won't get anything off the phone...

    I'm wondering what you even expect to get or want off the phone? If you knew what you wanted, there might be alternative approaches. For example; Photos, you might be able to crack open the itunes backup file or get them via an icloud account online. Other apps may have online counterparts as well (twitter, facebook, etc) so instead of looking to the phone for that info, look at getting it from other synced places.

    I agree with a previous poster, I wouldn't want anyone in my phone, regardless, period. There's no opportunity for me to provide context for the information they are seeing so it would leave them with misinformation more than anything.
     
  12. str8spd2001 macrumors regular

    str8spd2001

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    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #12
    If it's a 5S, this may sound creepy but couldn't the mother go by the morgue and use his thumb to unlock the phone? Granted he hasn't been buried yet. NM i just reread the Op and his death is 5 months ago.
     
  13. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    Jun 16, 2008
    #13
    Here's an idea, but I don't know if it would work (only way is to try it).

    How savvy was your friend? did he ever back up his phone to iTunes, and not to iCloud? If so, if you have access to another 5s or newer, you could, depending on how recent that backup was, restore it onto another iPhone, keep no password/pass code on it, and that "should" get you what you want.

    CAVEAT: You'd need access to the machine that the backups are located on to perform the restore.

    BL.
     
  14. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #14
    If the phone is locked, especially with a complex (not 4 digit) passcode, then sad to say the data on the phone itself is a goner.

    Having said that, what Apple probably can help you out on is resetting the password for his iCloud account, assuming he had one. If he backed up his phone to iCloud then chances are actually good you'll be able to get data that way. Once the password is reset, you can restore the phone from iCloud backup, without a passcode (or one that's know) and probably get most of the data back: text messages, photos, most app data. Password to e-mail and other login credentials would be lost, as Apple doesn't store those typically, but all the critical stuff would probably be there.
     
  15. I7guy macrumors G5

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    #15
    It's creepy but it wouldn't work anyway. Touch id is required, I believe after 48 hours.

    Hopefully it's not that easy to get in to icloud, even for apple. Having a back-door into icloud is a back-door and opens it up to all sorts of invasion of privacy. One that apple said in the past they are committed to avoiding.
     
  16. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    #16
    The commitment to privacy is laudable, and I share the concerns about this. But, there are circumstances exactly like this one, and even more mundane circumstances, like when someone legitimately forgets their iCloud password and doesn't want to be forever locked out of their app purchases and saved data. The ability to reset a password is a compromise to accommodate these situations, and Apple is absolutely capable of doing it.

    By the way, Apple also makes it clear that any data you elect to store on iCloud is in fact, recoverable and available, including to law enforcement. It's all outlined here in this document. The data is of course, encrypted in transit, so warrantless spying is out of the question. But, if someone produces legit court documents that entitles them access to the data, Apple is capable of providing it.

    Of course, anything not stored on iCloud, and that resides solely on a locked iOS 8.0 or later device, is not recoverable by Apple. There is limited recovery capability on iOS 4.x through 7.x that they can and will do with the right court paperwork.
     
  17. intofx macrumors regular

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    Jun 7, 2010
    #17
    True, Apple is capable of providing encrypted information to law inforcment... Now what?

    You are missing the whole point of apples privacy stance. The keys to unlock the encryption are stored on the users phone and can only be accessed with the users password or touchid.

    Easily resetting the account password is a backdoor. If they can do that for the user then with a warrent they would be forced to do it for law enforcement.

    You can not recover your data without the password, thouchid, or recovery key. If u develop amnesia and have your fingerprints burned off your are s.o.l.
     
  18. Cuniac macrumors 6502a

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    Phoenix
    #18
    I worked for Apple for several years, specifically in the iOS support department. This was always a tuff call to get. Largely we were unable to get these requests processed but there were a handful we escalated up the chain that I am not sure what happened. The best thing they can do is contact Apple directly and when you get someone on the line ask to speak with a senior advisor. Be nice about it, "I'm sorry to ask as I am sure your good but I really want to speak with a senior adviser". Then tell them what's going on. I hope you can get this done. Apples privacy policy and the way they have their security set up on the iPhone makes this a difficult task.
     
  19. palmerc2 macrumors 65816

    palmerc2

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    Los Angeles
    #19
    Plug it into the computer he used to sync his phone with? I don't think it requires a password and you should be able to retrieve all info.

    Or, just guess. Birthdays, last 4 of SSN, address of first house, 1111, 2222, 3333, etc etc. Worth a shot...
     
  20. LewisChapman macrumors 6502a

    LewisChapman

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    UK
    #20
    This is a tough situation for all involved and several things come to my mind when this type of case pops up such as with Facebook profile access of those users that have passed. For a start - just as another poster mentioned earlier, I definetly wouldn't want a posthumous data investigation into my personal data conducted by my mother. Secondly, how can Apple (a massive corporation with little/no real connection with their customers) decide whether access should be awarded to someone other than the owner of the device.

    And lastly - I'm not sure whether Apple would technically be able to provide access to the device however I do think they could provide access to iCloud data.

    Please do keep us posted on the outcome of this because it could help others in the future. I really hope you find a solution to your problem, can't even imagine what you and your friend are going through with such a sudden death.

    Not only is this one of the strangest posts I've read on this forum it's also fairly inaccurate since the fingerprint needs to be a living fingerprint to work and also after 24 hours a passcode is required.
     
  21. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #21
    It is likely too late but her going by the Apple Store will be useless. People in the Apple Store have no ability to unlock this phone. Apple is saying that they even can not do it. There is no back door.
     
  22. SisterBlue22 macrumors 6502

    SisterBlue22

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    Apr 29, 2015
    Location:
    Arizona
    #22
    In all honesty, I think Apple is right to uphold this policy. I do understand, as a mother and a human being, that his mother would want to be able to get into the phone. However, also as a human being, I wouldn't want anyone getting into my phone after I die, because, well, privacy. It's not that there's anything untoward on there (because I'm fairly boring), but it's my stuff, and my thoughts, and my conversations with people I have personal relationships with that others might not know about or understand. Frankly, delicate situation or not...what's on that phone is no one's business but the deceased.
     
  23. gixxerfool macrumors 6502a

    gixxerfool

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    #23
    If you have a computer he used for an iTunes backup, back it up and then restore the phone and restore from backup without setting a passcode.
     
  24. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #24
    Photos stored on iCloud are not encrypted. iCloud E-mails are not stored at rest encrypted. And when someone resets their password and restores a phone from iCloud backup? Not encrypted either. This is why account login credentials (like e-mail settings on the Mail app) and health data are not kept with iCloud backups, but are kept on local, password-encrypted iTunes backups. The iCloud backup is not encrypted.

    Yep... and they do.

    So, OP should tell that persons' mom to go to an Apple store, provide proof of purchase for the devices, death certificates and explain the situation. Chances are good an iCloud password reset is not only legitimately warranted here, but it's very possible they may oblige. Which... is this whole point of this discussion.
     
  25. intofx macrumors regular

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