Apple now allows you to download all the data it keeps about you, your purchases, and how you interact with Apple services.
It started providing an easy way for European users to request this data earlier this year because of GDPR, a European privacy regulation, but now the website is available to Americans, too.
So last week, I requested what Apple knows about me after 10 years of heavily using Apple products. After five days, Apple sent me an email with download links to nearly 17 GB of data including my entire iCloud drive. On the website, you can also ask Apple to correct what it knows about you and delete your account.
Apple has aggressively positioned itself as the tech giant that’s most aligned with users on security and privacy, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has even gone so far to say that privacy is a human right. So Apple’s user data interface needs to be stellar to match up with its rhetoric.
Here’s what it was like:
Turns out, it’s easy to access Apple’s new user data portal. Start at privacy.apple.com. Then, you’ll be asked for your Apple ID and password.
Once you’re in, you have a few options, including downloading your data, correcting your data, and deactivating or deleting your account.
Today, we’re requesting a copy of our data. So click on the button that says “request a copy of your data.”
Apple will tell you all the different kinds of data that it has on you, along with the formats they come in. It will ask what’s the largest file size you can handle.
But you can’t download your user data right then. Apple has to prepare the download, which takes a few days. I requested my data on a Friday, and got an email that it was ready the next Tuesday.
Here are all the general categories of data that Apple keeps about me. I can download them individually or all at once. For example, I probably don’t need to download what I have on iCloud drive, because that stuff is already on my hard drive.
Some of the stuff that Apple is keeping is pretty interesting, such as this data about my Apple Pay transaction history and credit cards.
There was also information about every time I’ve had a repair at an Apple Store, reported a problem to Apple Maps, and, oddly, every time I received and opened a marketing email from Apple.
Ultimately, nothing in the gigabytes of files I downloaded really surprised me. But if it had, I could also deactivate or delete my account easily.
If you want to see what data Apple has about you, visit privacy.apple.com.
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