Today, Apple unveiled a new data and privacy website to comply with the European Union’s GDPR legislation that goes into effect on May 25th. The site allows users to copy and correct personally identifiable information associated with their Apple IDs and deactivate or delete their accounts. Although the new copy and deactivation options are only available in the EU, they will be rolling out throughout the remainder of the year to the rest of the world.
The changes to privacy.apple.com expand significantly on the previously-available options to correct your data or delete your account. Obtaining a copy of your account data takes up to one week, during which time Apple says it verifies that you made the request. Users can check on the status of their data at privacy.apple.com/account and are notified by Apple when their data is available to download.
The list of data users can download is long, but does not include purchased content such as apps, books, music, and video or Apple Online Store transaction histories and marketing communications histories, which are available elsewhere. According to the site, each of the following categories of data can be copied and downloaded:
- App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and Apple Music activity
- Apple ID account and device information
- Apple Online Store and Retail Store activity
- AppleCare support history, repair requests and more
- Game Center activity
- iCloud bookmarks and Reading List
- iCloud Calendars and Reminders
- iCloud Contacts
- iCloud Notes
- Maps Report an Issue
- Marketing subscriptions, downloads and other activity
- Other data
Users can also specify a maximum file size that Apple will use to break the data up into multiple files and warns that iCloud Drive files and documents, iCloud Mail, and iCloud Photos can be large and take a long time to download.
In addition to copying personally identifiable information, users in the EU can deactivate their Apple ID. Unlike deleting an account, which is permanent, deactivating an account makes it unusable but only until the user logs back into privacy.apple.com and reactivates the Apple ID.
GDPR has caused tech companies to rethink how they manage user data and provide tools to those users to access it themselves. Although the data access rights are limited to EU citizens, I’m glad to see that Apple plans to make them available worldwide to all of its customers.