The mobile phone has transformed the way in which we communicate forever. For many of us it is the last thing we see before go to sleep and the first thing we hear and see when it’s alarm wakes us up in the morning.
The mobile phone has quickly become our main device for capturing photos and videos. Mobile phones also often contain intimate text message conversations (SMS messages) sent between friends and family members.
Keeping memories saved on your mobile phone safe
Photos, videos and text messages saved on a mobile phone can easily be discarded, lost or deleted by mistake. This often occurs because we do not think about the media saved on a handset when we upgrade to a new phone or when someone dies.
Content can also be lost when a phone is lost or stolen or when the firmware (software on the phone) is updated. With the rise of expensive SMART Phones which are ‘password protected’ an increasing number of people are being ‘locked out’ of the deceased’s mobile phones due to no not knowing the password on the phone.
Support from manufacturers and network providers
Mobile phone manufacturers (like Apple and Samsung) do not provide any assistance to the recently bereaved when trying to access a mobile phone. This is because providing access to a device would violate their privacy agreement with the deceased. This often also the case regardless of whether or not directions were left in the deceased’s ‘last will & testament’. Network providers (like EE, Vodafone etc) will also not be able to assist because it is a ‘handset’ issue and they simply provide the ‘network’ for it to run on.
Does someone other than yourself know the password for your mobile phone?
This data was attained from the annual ‘Digital Death Survey’ carried out in 2017.
Mobile Phone Checklist
- Do you have a password / lock for your mobile phone? If so, have you told at least one person what it is?
- Have you transferred / backed up the photos and videos on your phone?
- Have you transferred / backed up the photos and videos on the phones that you have previously owned?
- Have you written down / told someone what you would like to happen to you your mobile phone and the media on it once you have died?
- Would you your next of kin like to keep your phone in order to view the messages you shared whilst alive? This question becomes even more important if your partner has had their phone lost or stolen and therefore is unable to view conversations previously shared.
- Is your mobile phone your main ‘phonebook’ and address list? If so would you like your next of kin to have access to the contact list in order to arrange your funeral at a later date?
- Have you thought about what will happen to your mobile phone tariff and phone number when you die? You may want to review your monthly tariff and consider switching to a Pay As You Go (PAYG) offer. If your network provider allows you to do so you will need to tell the recipient of the phone (or SIM card) to ‘top up’ the phone with credit in order for it to remain active. How often the phone requires ‘topping up’ will depend on the network the phone number is assigned to.