​Apple privacy update: Now it's easier to download all the data it has about you

New data and privacy tools for Apple users go live ahead of strict GDPR privacy regulations.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Apple has made it easier for customers to download the data the tech giant holds about them and the devices they use.

The updated Data and Privacy tools allow Apple users to download a version of the data the company holds on their usage of its apps and services. Apple said this may include purchase or app usage history and data stored with Apple, such as calendars, photos or documents.

To find the site, sign in to your Apple ID account page on a Mac, PC, or iPad. Then scroll down to Data and Privacy and select 'Manage your data'.

See: iOS 11 tips and tricks for business professionals (free PDF)

The tools arrive just ahead of strict new privacy legislation in Europe known as GDPR. Apple said the complete set of self-service data and privacy tools is currently available to customers in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. "We intend to provide these capabilities to customers around the world in the coming months," the company said.

Apple users can select the data they would like to download from a list, and the company will prepare a copy for you -- a process that may take up to seven days. Apple said it will use the time to verify that it's a genuine request in order to ensure the security of your data.

That data can include information such as:

  • App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store and Apple Music activity
  • Apple ID account and device information
  • Apple Online Store and Retail Store activity
  • Show more Apple Online Store and Retail Store activity
  • AppleCare support history, repair requests and more
  • Show more 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

Downloads include app usage and activity information as spreadsheets or files in JSON, CSV, XML or PDF format. Documents, photos and videos will arrive in their original format, while contacts, calendars, bookmarks and email are in VCF, ICS, HTML or EML format.

However, the download will not include app, book, film, TV programme or music purchases, or Apple Online Store transaction history and Marketing communications history.

Apple notes that iCloud Drive files and documents, iCloud Mail and iCloud Photos data "may be large and take a long time to download".

For now, customers in other countries can request a correction to their data or to delete their account and associated data completely, or contact Apple to request a copy of the data that it stores -- although this involves significantly more form-filling. ZDNet's Zack Whittaker recently asked Apple to give him all the data it has collected on him since he became a customer in 2010: his story details what he discovered.


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