Apple is preparing to add new features that will make it easier for users to view and manage their data and privacy in the company’s ecosystem.
The features, which will take the form of various privacy and data controls, are being added to comply with new European Union regulations. But news of the move comes in the shadow of the massive Facebook data scandal and a growing conversation about data collection and privacy in general.
Apple will reportedly revamp its Apple ID website with the new controls in the “coming months,” Bloomberg reported. Users will be able to download a copy of all the data Apple has stored across its various devices, apps, and services. That might include a user’s Contacts or Calendar data, but also their photos and videos — and even the genre preferences they’ve logged in Apple Music.
In addition to being able to view the data, users will be able to correct any errant personal information. They’ll also be able to temporarily deactivate an account or delete their Apple ID entirely, according to Bloomberg.
Previously, Apple required users to contact them directly to correct or view personal data.
Reportedly, the features will arrive for European users in early May, before rolling out to other countries. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, the new rules that the features are meant to comply with, will kick in on May 25.
In addition to the upcoming browser-based privacy controls, Apple has also recently added new privacy features to its mobile operating systems — including a splash screen detailing Apple’s use of personal information and a Privacy icon that appears when Apple is asking for that data. The latter feature will also help combat phishing attempts.
Indeed, Apple has a longstanding history of protecting user privacy. It famously butted heads with the FBI when it refused the Bureau’s request to create a backdoor for its iOS platform. And unlike other large tech firms, Apple’s revenues come largely from its hardware and services. Facebook and Google, in contrast, make money by leveraging massive amounts of user data for their advertising businesses.
“Apple believes privacy is a fundamental human right, so every Apple product is designed to minimize the collection and use of your data, use on-device processing whenever possible, and provide transparency and control over your information,” Apple’s new iOS 11.3 privacy screen reads.
Similarly, Apple CEO Tim Cook recently spoke out in favor of privacy regulation at the China Development Forum. “This certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” Cook said when asked about privacy regulations in the wake of the Facebook data scandal.
“The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life — from my own point of view, it shouldn’t exist,” the Apple chief executive added.