Apple Called ‘Very Cold’ After Refusing To Unlock Dead Woman’s iPad

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Any technology maker — let alone one the size of Apple — is going to have various moral predicaments to deal with.

Recently Apple was accused of showing an “utter lack of understanding and discretion” after refusing to unlock a dead woman’s iPad for her two grieving sons.

When Andrea Grant, a 59-year-old woman, passed away due to cancer earlier this year, she left her sons Josh and Patrick as the co-executors of her will and estate.

The brothers claim that their mother used her iPad regularly, but failed to tell her sons her Apple ID password. When the brothers tried to restore factory settings on the device, they were told by Apple that they needed “written permission from Mum.”

When they informed Apple that their mother was dead, Apple asked for a copy of her death certificate, will, and a letter from their solicitor — alongside a court order to unlock the iPad.

In a blog reporting the experience, one son noted that:

“I have always been a fan of Apple but this incident has changed my opinion of them completely. Their utter lack of understanding and discretion in a time of great personal sadness has been astonishing. For a company that sells itself on the idea we are all part of one big Apple family, they have been very cold.”

In February, Apple updated its iCloud Free Account terms and conditions to warn: “You agree that your Account is non-transferable and that any rights to your Apple ID or Content within your Account terminate upon your death.”

Is Apple being too harsh in this case — or are these necessary security measures that any company looking to protect its users should take?

Let us know your thoughts in the “comments” box below.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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