Apple to Widow: Get Court Order for Hubby's Password
72-year-old Peggy Bush just wanted to play games on her late husband's iPad
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2016 12:24 PM CST

(Newser) – In a move CNET calls "a touch extreme," Apple was contacted by a 72-year-old Canadian widow to get her late husband's password so she could play games on his iPad—and the company refused to hand it over. Peggy Bush's husband, David, died of lung cancer in August, and one of the things she tried to do after his passing was use a card game app on his iPad, per the CBC's "Go Public." But the app wasn't working, so she had to download a new one—and she needed David's Apple ID password to do so. Her daughter, Donna Bush, called Apple, which informed her she could either get a new Apple ID account—which means they'd have to repurchase everything they'd already paid for—or provide David's will and death certificate. Which the Bushes did—only to be told two months later that they needed a court order for the password. "I was just completely flummoxed," Donna tells the CBC. "I said that was ridiculous, because we've been able to transfer the title of the house … the car, all these things just using a notarized death certificate and the will."

Per Ars Technica, which reviewed Apple's terms and conditions, accounts are "non-transferable" if a person dies, though the account can be terminated and all files deleted with a death certificate. Because the inexplicably requested court order could cost hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars, Peggy put the cash toward a new (non-Apple) laptop instead. Meanwhile, Donna wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook. "[I said] this is ridiculous," she tells Go Public. "All I want to do is download a card game for my mother on the iPad. I don't want to have to go to court to do that." Apple did contact the Bush family after Go Public reached out, said it was sorry for the "misunderstanding," and noted it's now working with the Bush family—but it wouldn't elaborate to Go Public on what its policy actually is regarding transfer of deceased customers' passwords. (You can appoint a "legacy curator" to take over your Facebook account if you die.)