Apple took 8 days to give me the data it had collected on me. It was eye opening.

play Show Caption Hide Caption Update your Apple privacy settings in fair 5 taps

Unlike Facebook and Google, Apple says it ‘s stricter about what data it keeps and allows advertisers to see. Jefferson Graham reports on Talking Tech. USA today How much does Apple know about me ? The answer surprised me. Following Facebook ‘s recognition that it had let a political ad targeting firm scrape the personal data of 87 million users, I rushed to see what kind of personal data the social network and Google had gathered on me. Both had more information, reaching bet on longer, than I had envisioned. so Apple was future. I use an iPhone, iPad and two Mac computers, and Apple besides offers data downloads in the privacy section of its web site. It ‘s hard to find, and once you do make the connection, you can expect a goodly delay to get the results. But do n’t expect to stay up all night reading what Apple has on you. The travel rapidly file I finally received from Apple was bantam, only 9 megabytes, compared to 243 MB from Google and 881 MB from Facebook. And there ‘s not much there, because Apple says the information is primarily kept on your device, not its servers. The one sentence highlight : a list of my downloads, purchases and repairs, but not my search histories through the Siri personal assistant or the Safari browser .

First, the wait

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 manufacturer first asked for my street address, earphone number, the series number of the iPhone, and other personal data 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 .

What I got

Apple ‘s charge on me took longer but was lightweight — a testimony, according to the company, of how little it collects and stores on its individual users. According to the file, it had made time stamps of when I backed up my iPhone, when I uploaded photos to iCloud and very boring things like that. It had stored my electronic mail and physical address, but not the call number, which is odd, since the information came from the iPhone. It kept a copy of every app and song I ‘d downloaded, every tune I ‘d added to my iTunes music library, and every clock time I needed repair on a battalion of Apple devices going back a ten .

What it didn’t include

What Apple didn ’ metric ton contribution with me is all the questions I ‘ve asked the Siri personal digital assistant, queries it gathers to make the artificial intelligence smart. The company says the data would n’t tell an individual user anything, since it ‘s not associated with him or her. Your Siri requests — ” Show me how to get to PF Chang ‘s, ” or “ What year was Steve Jobs born ? ” go back to Apple — but it uses a random identifier to mask your identity. So a Siri search for the closest Chipotle restaurant will alone tell Apple that a drug user requested the datum, but not associate it with me. The party says flatly that it doesn ’ thyroxine want your personal information and doesn ’ thymine shop it. On the Safari browser on my Macs, my browsing history goes back to July 2017, but Apple says it does n’t track that data. As a result, the personal download is very unlike from what I got from competitors Facebook and Google, which both track our moves, likes and queries in order to sell target advertise to sponsors. Apple says it ’ s in a different occupation, one based on selling you products, not selling advertisers access to your attention — for the most part.

On a far more circumscribed footing than Facebook or Google, Apple does sell targeted ads based on our interests in the News and App Store apps. To find what Apple has on you here, you need to go to the device. Click Settings, Privacy, Advertising. then choose “ View Ad information. ” On my iPhone, Apple told me that the Washington Post and Politico are “ targeting ” me, which I guess should make me feel good as I actually read them. More: You should pay attention to those privacy notices flooding your electronic mail More: Facebook to let you delete data it tracks on you from apps and on the Web More: 3 ways to clean up your on-line history on Facebook, Google and Apple ‘s Safari More: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says he ‘s left Facebook over data collection

How to download everything Apple knows about you

You make the request at hypertext transfer protocol : //www.apple.com/privacy/contact and then choose from “ Privacy Issues, ” in the contact shape. Write a sentence explaining that you want your personal data and download histories. The caller says it is moving to one-click requests — which would put it on par with Facebook and Google — in May, but only for european countries at first, to comply with new privacy regulations going into consequence May 25th. It says it will have the easier and less jumble privacy requests here late in the year. More: You should pay attention to those privacy notices flooding your electronic mail Apple makes a boastfully deal about its different approach to privacy on the company web site, and it paints quite an effective sell proposition for buying an iPhone vs. a Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel call. Paul-Olivier Dehaye, who runs the PersonalData.IO web site from Switzerland, gives Apple broadly effective marks for its set about to privacy. “ By keeping everything on the device, their incentives are well, ” Dehaye says. overall, Apple keeps less data on me than Facebook or Google. once you read it, it ‘s more of a shrug. But what Apple in truth needs to do now is not wait to take care of its customers in the United States, home to its biggest customer base, with easier tools to get our data back. Since there ‘s so little to report that Apple keeps on us, why make it sol hard ? Follow USA TODAY ‘s Jefferson Graham on Twitter, @ jeffersongraham, YouTube and Instagram, and listen to the daily Talking Tech podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you listen to online audio.

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