How to Find Out What Personal Information Apple Knows About You

Much like Facebook and Google, Apple has a really simple way to download a file that shows all of the information that Apple knows about you.

According to a new report from ZDNet, Apple maintains a user file on its customers, some of which is available to you with a simple online request.

About a week after submitting the information requested, Apple will send a link and password that allows you 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 iTunes Match.

What Apple doesn’t share is all the questions one may have asked Siri, queries it gathers to make the artificial intelligence smarter.

The company says the data wouldn’t tell an individual user anything, since it’s not associated with him or her.  Your Siri requests —”Show me how to get to the gas station,” 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 only tell Apple that a user requested the data, but not associate it with one’s name.

“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,” reads the report. “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. And, of the data it collects to power Siri, Maps, and News, it does so anonymously — Apple can’t attribute that data to the device owner.”

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:
  • 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.”