Monday, May 7, 2018

Requesting Your Personal Data From Apple

Jefferson Graham (Hacker News):

I use an iPhone, iPad and two Mac computers, and Apple also offers data downloads in the privacy section of its website. It’s hard to find, and once you do make the connection, you can expect a hefty wait to get the results.


It took eight days for my data to arrive from Apple, from a European office that is handling the privacy requests. After making the request, the iPhone maker first asked for my street address, phone number, the serial number of the iPhone, and other personal information before releasing it. This compares to Google and Facebook’s data dump. They asked no questions, and the results arrived swiftly—Facebook within minutes, and Google within hours.


On the Safari browser on my Macs, my browsing history goes back to July 2017, but Apple says it doesn’t track that information.

That’s curious because Safari sends your full browsing history to iCloud, and the only way to opt out is to turn off all the Safari-related iCloud features.

Previously: Keeping Your Safari Data Private.

Update (2018-05-08): Tom Hagopian:

Isn’t the reason your Safari browsing history isn’t included because Apple doesn’t track it? Would the data dump also include, e.g., my typing shortcuts, also synced by iCloud? Mail signatures/smart mailboxes?

He may well be right, but I don’t understand the distinction. In reading about GDPR, it seems to matter what data you are storing, much more than what you are doing with it, and clearly Apple is storing a lot in iCloud.

My Data Request:

Hundreds of companies store & process information about you. In many cases, you’re entitled to this data, as well as information on how it’s being used & shared. We read these companies’ privacy policies to figure out how you can get this data about you.

Update (2018-05-16): Zack Whittaker (via Tom Hagopian):

Apple says that any data information it collects on you is yours to have if you want it, but as of yet, it doesn’t turn over your content which is largely stored on your slew of Apple devices. That’s set to change later this year when the tech giant will allow customers to download their data archives, largely to comply with new European data protection and privacy rules.


iCloudLogs.xlsx keeps a note on every time one of your devices downloads data from iCloud, including your photo library, contacts, and Safari browsing history -- but doesn’t contain the actual data.

Update (2018-06-02): Tim Hardwick:

Apple has launched a new Data & Privacy website that includes an option for Apple users to download all the data associated with their Apple ID account that the company keeps on its servers.

Olivier Roux:

I just downloaded my whole Apple Privacy Data stuff and in there the IS a json file named SafariBrowsingHistory.json so you can download your Safari history, it is included in the «Other data» category (and then in a zip file named «Apple Features Using iCloud») 1/2

Steve Sande:

For users in any other countries, the site currently offers two choices: Correct your data or Delete your account. Apple will make the other data and privacy services available to all customers within a few months, but it is possible to request a copy of your data at the present time.

Update (2018-06-12): See also: Kirk McElhearn.

Update (2018-10-26): Zack Whittaker:

Good news! Apple now allows U.S. customers to download a copy of their data, months after rolling out the feature to EU customers.

But don’t be disappointed when you get your download and find there’s almost nothing in there.

Update (2024-03-08): Accidental Tech Podcast reports on the limited data that’s provided from the Notes app.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

the sensible thing is to not enable icloud at all. you're just inviting them to data mine you otherwise.

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