Microsoft is finally giving users a streamlined way to control telemetry in Office 365. The software's 1904 insider build debuts additional options for diagnostics, with a choice between ‘required' and ‘optional' data.
As suggested, the required setting sends only what's necessary for the normal functioning of Office.
“We collect diagnostic data necessary to keep office secure and up-to-date so that its proper execution can be guaranteed on the device on which it is installed,” it reads. “For example, what operating system you are using and whether office updates have been successfully installed.”
The optional setting is for those who wish to contribute more, letting Microsoft receive error logs and other data to improve its services.
“We would like to receive additional diagnostic-end user data so we can improve,” it says. “None of this data includes your name, data content, or information about apps that aren't related to Office.”
No Option to Disable
Previously, users could adjust data sharing by enabling or disabling specific features. In PowerPoint, for example, some data is sent back to Microsoft if you want to use its AI-powered editor. The addition of clearer diagnostic controls is a great addition for clarity and transparency, but some will be disappointed there's no option to disable collection entirely.
However, without these options, Office would be unable to deliver features like automatic update checking, which is very important for security. It would be nice to have an option forgo that and install updates manually, but it's still a step in the right direction.
It's also worth noting that this brings Office in line with Windows 10. The OS holds similar options for diagnostics, with options for ‘full' and ‘basic' telemetry. In that case, users can delete telemetry data easily. We'll begin to see the controls roll out to users in the coming weeks, so it'll be interesting to see if that option is maintained.