How to download all the data Apple has on you

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Apple continues to put privacy front and center.
Apple continues to put privacy front and center.
Image: Apple

Apple’s refreshed Privacy website is live, giving U.S. users the ability to download all of their data from Apple. The website explains how and why Apple products are “designed to protect your privacy.”

Apple stresses that “your data belongs to you” and insists that it never sells users’ info to advertisers or other organizations.

The website even gives users the ability to delete an Apple account — and all associated data — if desired.

Apple prides itself on its strict privacy and security policies. Its stance looks very different from those implemented by rivals like Facebook and Google. The company makes it easy to see when its devices collect user data. (Cupertino also likes to remind us that it never shares that data.)

Just in case you need to know more, Apple updated its Privacy website to provide users with detailed information on how and why it takes privacy so seriously.

Apple overhauls its Privacy website

“Apple products are designed to protect your privacy,” reads the first page in big, bold text. “At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right.”

The company points out how much personal information Apple devices store these days. Our iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple Watches retain everything from emails and messages to where we bought our last coffee. And all that data demands protection.

Apple explains how it does that using systems like Face ID and Touch ID, the Secure Enclave inside its devices, and end-to-end encryption. The company also notes that it requires app developers to agree to strict privacy guidelines and punishes those who violate them.

The privacy site points visitors toward three sections that offer a more in-depth look at Apple’s approach to privacy, information on managing privacy, and transparency reports.

Taking charge of your data

Under the section on managing your privacy, Apple users will find a link to the Data and Privacy page, where they can download a copy of all the data Apple has on them, including things like app usage history, purchases, calendars, photos and documents.

To do this, visit the page and sign in with your Apple ID. Then click the Get started link under Get a copy of your data. You can choose which data you want to download if you don’t want all of it. Or click the Select all button to get everything.

For most users, this will be a lot of data. So Apple gives you the option to divide it into 1GB, 2GB, 5GB, 10GB or 25GB files.

Users can correct any incorrect personal information stored by Apple. They also can temporarily deactivate an Apple account and restrict access to its data.  Or, if they prefer, they can delete an account and all associated data entirely.

Apple gave users in the European Union access to these tools back in May following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation. Now those in the U.S. can access them, too.