iOS developers get new tools that let you download and delete iCloud data

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Apple takes privacy seriously
A pop-up in iOS 11.3 gives Apple's commitment to privacy.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple is giving developers new tools that will allow iPhone and iPad users to download and delete any personal information being stored in iCloud.

Developers received word of the new tools today which were created in order to help developers comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation that goes into effect this May. The new laws mean developers will be forced to comply anytime a customer requests to access manage, restrict or delete personal data.

In its support document published today, Apple revealed that when you request a copy of data associated with your Apple ID, it only includes the data Apple on iCloud Drive (photos, videos, contacts, texts, etc).

“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.”

The new tools provide web and native APIs that make it easy for developers to let users manage their data in CloudKit containers. Apple is also planning to let users view and delete the data Apple stores on them in iCloud. Users will also be able to lock their account so that no data is stored under their Apple ID.

Because Apple is allowing users to temporarily deactivate their Apple ID, developers will see CloudKit APIs return a lot of errors. Apple detailed how developers can handle the deactivation.

“To allow users to restrict their account in your app, use the restrict API provided by CloudKit Web Services to temporarily restrict a specific CloudKit container. If a user temporarily restricts a specific container, existing CloudKit APIs will also return errors that you’ll need to handle.

The new tools come in light of Facebook’s scandal of user data leaking to third parties. Apple CEO Tim Cook took a shot at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg in an interview saying he would never be in the that situation because Apple doesn’t want to make money off of its users data.