In the years since the debut of Apple’s iPhone, our lives have been transformed by mobile apps. They’ve changed the way we find our way from place to place, how we work and the ways we socialize. Even the way we prepare for death has evolved. Smartphone apps can now help you plan a loved one’s funeral, arrange for messages to be delivered after you die, or simply complete your dearest goals before drawing your last breath.
- iWish is a goal-setting app for Android and iOS focused on helping you create and achieve your “bucket list.” What sets iWish apart from similar apps is its beautiful design, hundreds of goal ideas and motivational quotes to inspire you. You’ll also find a broad variety of ways to visualize your goals list: as a collage, on a map, etc.
- Deadline is an iOS app that uses Apple’s HealthKit data to calculate (and continually update) your approximate time of death. Employing a dark sense of humor, Deadline has garnered reviews from The Guardian and Tech Times, which notes that “the app is looking to motivate users to adopt a healthier lifestyle in an effort to prolong life.”
- Another death prediction tool, The Death Clock is a web app that asks a few health and lifestyle questions before calculating a death date based on your answers. You can share the results on Facebook or even embed a death date widget on your own website.
"Let's try... to cultivate the contemplation of death." - Life Countdown
- Life Countdown is an Android app that asks you to pick the date you think you’ll live to, then sends you notifications at random intervals of how much time you theoretically have left. The app has a philosophical bent: it’s produced by a Buddhist organization “to cultivate the contemplation of death.”
- Funeral Info Resources is a smartphone app for both Android and iOS that collects hundreds of expert articles on writing condolences, planning funerals, popular funeral poems, and more. This shareable content is updated weekly, and users can discuss articles with one another within the app.
- Afternote provides a number of services: you can write farewell messages to be sent to specific people after your death; manage how your social media accounts will be handled; create a timeline of important events in your life; and keep a bucket list of goals you wish to achieve before your life ends. Afternote users designate “trustees” who must register with Afternote. After your death, trustees are the only ones given access to your information.
- Eterniam, accessible via both an iOS app and the web, is among the most polished services on this list. It provides a secure online locker for your “personal digital assets”—photos, videos, documents, etc.—and then releases them after your death to whomever you specify. Tech blog GeekWire notes that Eterniam also encourages use of the iOS app “to ‘celebrate life,’ capture moments as you live and upload them to the cloud.”
- Keep Their Memory Alive, a dual platform smartphone app, bills itself as a “GPS based memorial smartphone app.” It lets families and other groups create collaborative memorials for loved ones who’ve passed away, geotagging locations that were important to the deceased.
- Afterwords, Death Switch, Dead Man’s Switch and Deadman all provide a “dead man’s switch” service: they simply contact you for a response at pre-set intervals. If you fail to reply after a certain amount of time, the service distributes your pre-stored information and messages as you have directed (under the assumption that your lack of response means that you have died or are otherwise incapacitated). Afterwords and Death Switch are the most sophisticated of this group, but all provide similar features.
Chuck Falzone is based in the Chicago area, where he writes, cooks, sings and tries to keep up with a pre-schooler.