What sort of information does Apple keeps on its customers? Some of it's available to you with a simple online request. Since Apple claims that it doesn't retain a large amount of data on individuals, the results may come as surprise, especially as parts of it can go back many years.
If you'd like to get a copy of your own data record from Apple, here's how to get the ball rolling from your laptop or desktop:
- Start by going to Apple's Privacy Questions page, here: https://www.apple.com/privacy/contact/
- From the single pulldown menu on this page: "I have a question about," select "Privacy Issues."
- Fill out the resulting form, including your name, email and location.
- Add a sentence or two requesting all your data, for example: "I'd like a copy of all the data Apple has on me."
Update, May 23: Apple's actually rolling out an even easier way to do this in Europe -- just visit Apple's new Privacy portal. Reportedly, the site will work for users in other countries later this year.
When our ZDNet colleague Zack Whittaker tried this recently, he received an email within a few days that read, in part:
Dear Mr. Whittaker,
Thank you for contacting Apple's privacy team.
At Apple, we take the privacy and security of your personal information very seriously. We design our products and services with this in mind.
We can arrange for a report of your account details as controlled by Apple.
However, to ensure the security of your personal information, we need to confirm your identity. Could you please send me the following information associated with the account, where available:
- full name
- Apple ID if known
- email address
- street address
- telephone number
- a registered product serial number
- AppleCare support case number, or date and time of AppleCare support chat
Please do not send any sensitive information such as credit card details or passwords
Whittaker tells us that about a week after submitting the information requested, he received a link and password that allowed him to download an .XLSX file, which can be opened in many spreadsheet applications, including Microsoft Excel, Google Docs, and Apple Numbers.
The data delivered includes all App Store and iTunes purchases connected to your Apple ID, serial numbers of all your Apple devices, and even a list of songs you've used with Whittaker's in-depth analysis on ZDNet.. For a deeper dive into the exact information stored by Apple and what it means for you, see
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