As promised in March, Apple today unveiled a new Data and Privacy section of its website to comply with Europe’s GDPR privacy regulations. The page enables some European users to automatically request downloads of personal data Apple has previously collected, and to temporarily deactivate their Apple accounts. Apple says that it will roll out the same features worldwide “in the coming months.”
Users with Apple accounts registered in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are presented with the options to “Get a copy of your data,” “Correct your data,” “Deactivate your account,” or “Delete your account.” If you request a copy of your data, Apple will give you the choice of which files to download, and the company promises to fulfill that request within seven days. The deactivation option enables you to restrict access to your data — without deleting your account — by temporarily giving up access to your account and Apple services.
Apple’s data collection is more significant than some people expected. It includes your activity across all of Apple’s various online stores; all of your AppleCare activity; all of your iCloud data, Apple ID account, and device information; and a catchall category called “Other data.” Since the data dump can also include whatever iCloud photos, mail, and documents you’re currently storing, Apple splits the data into 1-Gigabyte pieces for easier transmission.
Accounts outside of the current list of European countries are given only the options to “Correct your data” using other Apple pages or to permanently delete the account “and associated data from all Apple services.” The “Correct your data” link leads to a page suggesting the use of Apple’s earlier appleid.apple.com and Apple Online Store pages to access comparatively small portions of the data Apple has collected.
For the time being, Apple does have a Privacy Enquiries page that enables users outside the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland to manually request all of Apple’s collected data. “We will also handle any correction requests or general enquiries that you have,” the page says, providing request links for other regions across the world. Unlike the guarantees to European users, no specifics are provided on the turnaround time for these data requests.