Apple Now Allows Users To Download, Change, Or Delete Data It Has Collected

Two iPhone units are being compared at an Apple store in Sydney.
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Apple on Wednesday launched a new tool that allows users in the United States and several other countries to download, change, or delete all their data that it has collected.

The Cupertino-based technology company updated its privacy page with the tool, which was rolled out earlier this year for users in the European Union in response to the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, of the region.

Apple users in the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand will now be able to see and download all the information the iPhone maker has collected on them.

The company has also provided users with a simpler way to make changes to their data, suspend their Apple account, or even delete the account permanently.

Apple has already offered these functions in different places before but brought them together in response to Europe’s data privacy tool. According to Reuters, the company plans to roll out the same tool for all users around the globe by the end of the year.

The revamped privacy page has placed emphasis on Apple’s data-retention policies and differential privacy efforts.

iPhones and other Apple devices collect detailed data about users and this include whom they contact via email, call, or SMS. The devices also have users’ biometric data, which include their fingerprints and heart rate.

Image shows the Apple logo outside of an Apple store.
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The company said that it keeps much of these data on the devices, encrypted with the user’s passcode. This means that Apple does not possess the data and cannot unscramble these even if asked by law enforcement officials.

Despite this, Apple still collects and stores some data about its users, which include users’ reading habits so it can improve suggestions in the Apple News app.

Apple, however, said that the data is linked to an anonymous identifier, not a personal profile, and that this can be reset at any time and is not connected to its other services.

“Differential Privacy adds random information to your data before it’s analyzed by Apple, so we can’t link that data to your device. Instead, patterns appear only when the data is combined with the data from many other users, because the random additions average out,” Apple said of its approach to privacy.

“These patterns help Apple gain insight into how people are using their devices without collecting information about an individual.”

To see the information that Apple has retained, users simply have to go to the Apple privacy portal, sign in, and click “Obtain a copy of your data” from the available options. It might take several days for the data to be compiled and sent in a zip file to the user’s email address.