Info to Pass On in Case You…Pass On

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It’s not very pleasant to think about what needs to happen with our Macs after we’re gone, is it? But it’s a necessary step these days, especially if you’ve got other people in your life who’d struggle to pay bills without the online logins that you’ve created, for example. Also, it’s a great idea to keep copies of a few bits of info off of your Mac, so in case data recovery needs to happen or your computer is stolen, you’ve got some options. To that end, I think it’s important that you find a separate place to keep the information I’ve listed below. 

Before we get started, note that I don’t really recommend writing down your passwords. If you’re the type of person who feels comfortable putting those in your home safe, more power to you, but I prefer knowing my passwords and other critical data are in an encrypted database like the one 1Password offers. So when you’re thinking through how you’re going to share and store everything, keep security in mind. Ideally, if you had a password database and your partner (or next of kin) had one as well, you could exchange your “in case of emergency” stuff and be set.

So here’s the list! Give these items to someone you trust in a way that’s safe.

1. Your Mac password/iOS passcodes. To make life easy for folks who are there when you’re not, tell them how to get into your computer and other devices. 

If you don’t trust anyone at all with that, you’re probably with the NSA. If not, I’m worried about you right now.

2. Info needed to access your other passwords. If you’re not so security-conscious and you’ve got a spreadsheet that has all of your passwords in it, that’s good for your partner or spouse to know. 

Please don’t do this, OK?

Or (preferably) if you’re using a password-management program like I suggested above, whatever master password unlocks it shouldn’t be a secret. 

3. Steps needed to bypass any security you’ve set on your Mac. For example, if you’ve turned FileVault on and have created a recovery key for it, that’d be awesome to have in whatever data repository you’re creating. Have you enabled a firmware password? Put that one in there, too. Or if you’ve gotten really fancy and are using encrypted disk images to store your private stuff, don’t forget those. 

4. A list of any recurring electronic withdrawals or subscriptions you have. You might not be around anymore, but that MLB.TV monthly pass you bought will never die. Or hey, you may have every bill on autopay with your bank. Those are excellent things to share with whoever would take care of that without you.

5. Serial numbers for any Apple devices you own. This is obviously more for a “stuff got stolen” scenario instead of a “something bad happened to you” one, but it’s still important. Apple has a support page on where to find the serial numbers for your iPad, iPhone, Mac, Watch, and so on.

Apple never uses the letter “O” in serial numbers, just so you know. So if you see something that looks like an “O,” it’s a zero.

So have I totally bummed you out now? Well, if I’ve made you tell some nice person how to manage your digital assets when you’re not around or if you’ve written down your serial numbers, then I’ve done my job. Of course, this article doesn’t cover everything you might need for your specific situation, so spend some time soon thinking about your devices and what else might be good to have from your Mac in the event of an emergency. 

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Lee Dronick

I do have important passwords written down, but they are in our safe deposit box. I also have a list of logins and passwords for places such as this where I would want my online friends know.

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