It is no secret that the tech firms collect some level of personal data about the users, and Apple is no different. But, exactly what Apple gathers has always remained a mystery. With Cambridge Analytica like fiasco involving Facebook, users across the globe have become more cynical about the personal data that these tech giants hold about them. However, such is not the case with the iPhone maker as one easily check personal data Apple stores.
Apple has very strict guidelines when it comes to user data, and we have already seen that in the San Bernardino shooting incident, where Apple challenged FBI to protect user data. On various occasions, CEO Tim Cook has made it clear that the company can make insane money by selling the user data if it wants to, but they do not treat their customers as products.
Apple does not make money by selling its customer data; rather they rely on their products and services. The company is no fan of offering free, ad-driven services that companies like Google and Facebook do. However, a fact that can’t be ignored is that Apple is a data mine of information about people, but at the same time, it also offers users a way to check personal data Apple stores
In the comment section, write about the data that you want, like “send me the data that Apple has on me.” Tap the Send button, and it’s done. It could take around a week to receive the spreadsheet file from Apple carrying all the information, such as Apple ID alongside the purchases and downloads linked to that ID and other data like songs that have been matched using iTunes Match.
What Apple’s data sheet will not include is Siri’s requests and questions asked to the digital assistant. The iPhone maker anonymizes such requests, and thus, cannot track them to a particular User ID. And, going ahead, users would be able to get more information on the data stored by Apple. Under the new European data protection and privacy legislation, users would be able to download an entire archive of their data.
Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Apple has been vocal about the how secure their services are. On its privacy web page, the company says that every Apple product is designed from scratch to safeguard user information like the websites visited, heart rate after a run, emails, messages or more. Apple claims that it allows users to choose the information they want to share and with whom they want to share.
Also, Apple forces app developers to follow its strict guidelines in place to protect user privacy. If any developer violates these guidelines, they need to fix it or else are removed from the App Store. On the iOS platform, every time an app asks for the personal information, like photos and contacts, the user receives a prompt. The company is also adding a new privacy icon to the iOS and macOS, which would appear when Apple’s official apps ask for user’s personal information to prevent phishing attempts.
Apple CEO Tim Cook reasserted Apple’s privacy commitments during the latest earnings call. “We protect it by encrypting it, and we keep the bulk of information or a significant amount of information on the device so that the user is in control of it,” Cook said.
Further, Cook started that Apple collects much less data than others do. “Because if you look at our model, if we can convince you to buy an iPhone or an iPad, we’ll make a little bit of money. You’re not our product. And so that’s how we look at that,” he said.
Along with asserting Apple’s stance on user privacy, Cook also recently took a dig at Facebook over its handling of user data. During his visit to Duke University, Cook suggested that offering the most updated technology does not mean compromising on the user privacy. According to Cook, Apple chose a different path by collecting as little data as possible, being thoughtful and respectful when they can be.
Despite such high standards, Apple has had its share of controversies in handling privacy issues. In February, there was quite uproar when the company decided on moving iCloud accounts registered in mainland China to the state-run Chinese servers. In 2014, nude photos from celebrities’ iCloud accounts were hacked.