Apple rolling out developer tools to let users manage their iCloud data

To help app makers comply with the European Union’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation, Apple on Friday announced it is providing new tools designed to help developers fulfill data requests made by users in the European Union or around the world.

Apple is giving developers new tools so that they can create ways for their customers to manage their data stored in iCloud, including the ability to temporarily deactivate or restrict access, delete or get a copy of their data. According to Apple’s website, users may make requests to Apple or to developers directly.

Developers can use native or web APIs to let users manage data associated with their app.

  • Providing user access to CloudKit data: Developers can give users access to app data stored on their behalf. When a user requests a copy of the data associated with their Apple ID, it includes only the data that Apple maintains directly such as documents in iCloud Drive. Data stored in third-party CloudKit containers are not included in any export that Apple provides. Developers should provide their own method for users to get a copy of data stored in their CloudKit containers.
  • Responding to requests to delete data: This lets developers provide options for users to delete their CloudKit data from their app.

Developers are advised to take advantage of the Restrict API provided by CloudKit Web Services in order to permit users to temporarily restrict their account in an app or request that any further changes to their app data stored in iCloud be prevented.

“User data stored in CloudKit belongs to the user,” Apple notes. “For this reason, apps that integrate with CloudKit should give users a way to view and export their data.”

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported this week that Apple users will soon be able to download a copy of their Apple ID data or delete their account without needing to call AppleCare. The report added that Apple has been revamping its privacy controls and will roll out an overhauled Apple ID website with new features for downloading your account data and more.

Apple says that when a user requests to temporarily deactivate their Apple ID, no additional data will be stored in iCloud and the account will be locked until the user reactivates it.

The changes, meant to comply with the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation, will go into effect on May 25 first in Europe before expanding to other markets later.