This iPad's keeping a tight lid on things

Apple prides itself on the built-in, tough-as-nails security features of its products. If it didn’t provide them, it would be savagely attacked by critics for not adequately protecting its customers and leaving them vulnerable to the ravages of global hackers.

Poor Apple, though, can’t catch a break from Josh and Patrick Grant of London,  England, who say Apple is giving them a hard time about logging into their recently deceased mother’s iPad. It seems Anthea Grant, who bought the tablet two years ago, died recently and took her passwords with her to her grave.

According to a BBC report, the two sons have hit a wall with Apple, who they say refuses to unlock the device even after the boys provided copies of her will, death certificate and a letter from their lawyer.

Apple told a London radio show the boys appeared on that it leads the industry with security protection for customers who’ve lost or have had their devices stolen. The Grant brothers say Apple now wants them to get a court order before they’ll unlock mom’s 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.

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.”

Clearly, the Grants’ dilemma is not a new issue. All you need to do to hear more tales of woe is go to Apple’s own online forum for just such predicaments. Take this post from 2013, for example, from a frustrated Apple customer nicknamed “kowetas:”


Dec 24, 2013 6:28 AM

I have an iPad that I am trying to set up for my Grandmother, which belonged to my recently deceased Grandfather. I followed instructions to reset it to factory settings but it says that I need to log in using his apple id. I know his email but I have no idea of his password. I have read that there is no way around this as you need the previous owner to remove it from his list of apple devices, but he is dead and cannot do that. Surely there must be some way to get around this, even if it involves going into a store with paperwork to prove this?

But the Grant boys, just like ‘kowetas,” should probably have a little more patience, judging by the string of responses to kowetas’ post. Most writers agreed that the only way to get the iPad unlocked is to do exactly what Apple is asking: spend the money on a few hours of a lawyer’s time and  get a court order.
Otherwise, as one writer put it: “Unless you can get Apple’s help on this, the iPad is just a useless brick now.”
Patrick May Patrick May (341 Posts)

With more than 30 years on the front line of daily American journalism, I'm currently a staff writer with the San Jose Mercury News, covering Apple and writing people-centric business stories from Silicon Valley.