Use of Apple’s iPhones, iPads and Macs could be restricted in Russia next year due to a new law that’s set to go into effect on Jan. 1. The law doesn’t outright target Apple’s devices, but it bars use of cloud services, including iCloud, that store their data outside of the Russian Federation.
Under the law, which was passed in July, smartphone and device data must be hosted inside the country. This is problematic for a number of services, many of which store their data in the United States or in data facilities across the globe.
"When collecting personal data, including through information and telecommunications Internet networks, the operator must ensure that the record, classification, accumulation, storage, updating and retrieval of personal data of citizens of the Russian Federation is done on databases located in the territory of the Russian Federation,” according to a translation of law.
The law has provisions to ban the services not in compliance with the law.
It’s not clear how the Russian government will handle iPhones currently inside the country. But it’s possible that authorities may choose to block Apple’s iCloud services through the country’s Internet service providers. One way for Apple to get around the ban would be to disable iCloud features by default in Russia. Another option is set up iCloud data servers inside the country for its Russian customers. But at the moment it's not clear what actions the company will take.