Apple security rules leave inherited iPad useless, sons claim

“A man whose mother bequeathed her iPad to her family in her will says Apple’s security rules are too restrictive,” Natalie Donovan and Kevin Core report for The Beeb. “Josh Grant, 26, from London, told BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours his mother bought the tablet during her cancer treatment. Since her death, they have been unable to unlock the device, despite providing Apple with copies of her will, death certificate and solicitor’s letter.”

“Anthea Grant bought the tablet two years ago when she had her first cancer diagnosis, using it mainly for games and for video calling to keep in touch with her sons,” Donovan and Core report. “In her will she indicated that her estate was to be split between her five boys, and the brothers decided the eldest son Patrick should have the iPad.”

“After her death, they discovered they did not know her Apple ID and password, but were asked to provide written consent for the device to be unlocked,” Donovan and Core report. “Mr Grant said: ‘We obviously couldn’t get written permission because mum had died. So my brother has been back and forth with Apple, they’re asking for some kind of proof that he can have the iPad. We’ve provided the death certificate, will and solicitor’s letter but it wasn’t enough. They’ve now asked for a court order to prove that mum was the owner of the iPad and the iTunes account. It’s going to have to go through our solicitor and he charges £200 an hour so it’s a bit of a false economy.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:


UPDATE: 3:42pm EST: Or…

1. Turn off the iPad.
2. Plug the iPad’s USB cable into computer only.
3. Hold down the iPad’s Home button as you connect the USB cable to it.
4. When the Connect to iTunes screen (USB cord pointing the iTunes symbol) displays, release the Home button.
5. iTunes should open and display a message such as: “iTunes has detected an iPad in recovery mode. You must restore this iPad before it can be used with iTunes.”
6. Use iTunes to restore iPad.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Sheila Horseman” and “Marc” for the heads up.]


    1. Can you factory reset from iTunes w/o lock code? I think you can from Xcode, but I’ve never not known the password. Even if you can, the average user shouldn’t even know what Xcode is.

    2. I am replying here to get my post near the top.

      There are too many things wrong with this story:

      1) MDN take is wrong
      2) passcode and Apple ID are two different things

      if they want mum’s iPad they have it. If they want all her music that is a different issue.

  1. MDN, doesn’t the the iPad need to be unlocked to access Settings?

    Slightly more useful advice would be to write all your passwords down before dying of cancer.

    1. Has anyone asked if “mum” didn’t give them a password for a reason?

      Maybe she didn’t want whatever was on it in their hands. Maybe if they had they might be racking up debt and trying to claim someone else broke into the account.

      Think about it. Sound like she knew she had cancer and was aware enough to contact an attorney. As she progressed she was aware of the outcome at some point. What about bank accounts, loans, safe deposits???? An iPad really? All this and she didn’t write it down or give it to her attorney?!

      Stinks of fish. Why again do they need to get into her account?

  2. I believe they could plug the iPad into a Mac and do a software restore from a non-locked iPad backup, but that would erase all of the apps and data on the iPad.

    I hate to sound heartless here, but why didn’t anyone ask mom for her passcode when she was alive, knowing her health status?

    I suppose Apple could change its security policy to allow for an Apple Store to reset a device if proper documentation was provided to Apple, but how is an Apple Store employee to know whether a death certificate has been forged or not? They won’t even hold or return a lost iPhone turned into them; they send them in for recycling because they’re worried about liability.

      1. But a reset will clear the memory and you don’t get to inherit your Mum’s library of books, movies, etc. Good news for Apple, Amazon, etc. Bad news for the beneficiaries. Some of these libraries can be worth thousands of dollars or more.

        1. I don’t know how it is in the UK but in the US you only need to provide Apple a death certificate to take over a family member’s iTunes account. Maybe the UK has a sucky law that prevents this somehow.

    1. What from the article leads you to believe that? I infer that they at least want access to something in her account, which I speculate is pictures), but there is no explicit indication of wanting a “shrine” or having it exactly as she had it.

    1. They seem to want access to her private iTunes account and all her purchased content and all her private files.

      They didn’t read the end user agreement license and perhaps think they own that content now.

    1. New headline: “Mum torments her children from hell”.

      Now there’s a story. I think it’s the story of my life.
      (I’ll apologies now about the hell comment. OK, heaven then)

  3. What does grandma have on her iPad they want? Just plug it into to a computer, restore it and set up as new. Done.

    Sound amore like people want some 15 minutes more than anything.

  4. slow news day at the BBC…

    at the risk of being callous, expecting a multi-billion $ corporation to handle your personal problem on a case-by-case basis is beyond unreasonable. apple’s policy is a standard test of legal ownership, not just possession. with all the iphone/ipad theft happening, apple cannot be expected to turn on anyone’s device by saying please, i have a special case. follow the process and get the device unlocked. this policy protects us all. having trouble following rules that you don’t like is becoming a pandemic.

    1. Not a lack of empathy. This is no different than documenting your back accounts and insurance policies. If she had time to set up a will, she should have written down the information needed to for her executor to take care of her estate. (been there done that).

      1. While it may be legally the same, it is reasonable to speculate that the mother did not think it was nor that the password would be necessary.

        I do agree this is more about the legal aspect than the emotional at this point.

  5. With governments all over the world demanding Apple Increase the security of their devices, I am quite sure they don’t want to get into the business of deciding which iDevices to unlock. This is one of those situations where the “average Joe” “just doesn’t understand why company X is being so difficult.” However, “average Joe”is not a corporate lawyer, so just becuase he “doesn’t understand” doesn’t mean that there is not a damn good reason why. Imagine if Apple unlocked a device for someone that should not have been given access and information found inside the device was used to open a credit card under rightful owner’s name, ruining their credit, and costing them untold damages. That would be disaster and way worse than making someone spend the money to prove it’s their iDevice, if they want it that bad. Just becuase the woman had cancer and bought an Apple product doesn?’to make Apple responsible for her poor decision. That being said, in this digital age, electronic accounts are a real problem for executors. One should have a Password manager and keep a backup and master password with one’s attorney. Apple is being fair here, they realize that they are potentially setting a precedent, and they are covering their bases. As a shareholder, I approve.

  6. The problem here isn’t that Apple is “being cautious,” but that they are setting a higher bar for the heirs than is required by banks and other financial institutions. Executors routinely access multi-million-dollar accounts and other properties with a certified copy of the appropriate probate documents. They do not have to get a court order specifically authorizing access to each individual asset. If that were legally necessary, the probate courts would be completely swamped.

  7. You can not unlock a locked iPad/ iPhone or iPod touch by restoring it. If iCloud is set up there is no way to restore the device unless you have the proper credentials. IOS7 security update.

  8. If it were me, I’d try to reset the Apple ID password using the email option. Surely they have access to Mom’s email; if not, I’d try the personal info “secret questions” route, since they’d probably know the answers to those. I’d also try talking to Apple again; unless there are local laws to the contrary, I think they’ve done everything that Apple normally requires.

  9. I expected this thread discussion to go into yet another direction. You see, the 4-digit PASSCODE requirement is to allow access the iPad only when correctly entered. Note: the BioID/fingerprint on the 5s serve as an alternative, but the PASSCODE is required after the device is reset. IT WORKS!!!

    Once correctly entered, on has full access to the iPad’s content. However, many apps involved its own security access rights – that request an id/password.

    The iCloud apps require the AppleID/password

    NOTE: iTunes purchases are tagged with the single user AppleID/password. You may view & listened to iTunes purchases on the iPad The owner may not copy the content to another device [backup as it were] by will require reentry of the AppleID/pwd to access the file.

    What happens when the associated account is closed? NO MORE ACCESS via iTunes!!!

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