iPhone update adds privacy transparency

Apple has updated its operating systems iOS, MacOS.


After the update, customers will see new information screens when using Apple-made apps that collect personal data, such as the App Store.

The change comes ahead of new EU data protection rules, which will come into force on May 23.

Apple also plans to allow people to download the data stored on them.

The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) tightens requirements on how organizations handle the public's data and imposes harsher penalties for breaches.

Apple has previously promoted its services and smartphones as privacy-focused.

The latest software update does not change the amount of data collected, but new privacy information screens will appear when people use certain Apple-created apps for the first time.

Data and privacy screen

Touching the notice will display detailed information about what data is being collected and how it is used.

However, customers will not be able to disable some types of data collection. For example, they will not be able to download free apps from the App Store without first setting up an Apple ID account.

Apple also plans to launch new tools in May that will enable customers:

  • download a copy of all the data Apple stores on them, including photos, videos and iCloud backups
  • temporarily disable your Apple ID, which will stop Apple from processing your data
  • permanently delete your Apple ID, which will erase all data from Apple stores within 30 days.

The privacy-focused Open Rights Group welcomed the changes.

"Making privacy settings more transparent and giving people more control is better. This is happening because companies are checking what they are doing before new data protection rules go into effect," said Jim Killock.

"The new rules have forced everyone to make changes, including some of the big U.S.-based companies. That's a victory for privacy and shows that we can win improvements if governments listen to people's well-founded concerns about privacy."

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