You know Facebook and Google have tons of your data, but what about Apple? Turns out they don’t have much.
You can see what Facebook has on you, and you can download all of your Google data as well. Various tech journalists have done this only to be surprised by what they found. Jefferson Graham, writing for USA Today, did a similar process for Apple and was surprised for a different reason. Here’s Graham:
The zip file I eventually received from Apple was tiny, 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.
You can do this yourself but it’s not straight forward: head to this form, fill it out with accurate information, then request a copy of your personal information in the comment field.
Apple devices collect a surprising amount of information about you—Macs track your location, for example. But that information is encrypted and stored on your device, meaning Apple doesn’t have access to it.
Apple is unique among big tech companies in that they don’t really have an ad business, so they don’t need a lot of data about you for targeted ads. It’s a huge upside to Apple if you’re passionate about privacy.
But there are downsides. Siri would probably be better if Apple did collect more personal information about you, for example. Right now it feels like Siri knows nothing about you, which makes her responses less useful than Alexa or Google Assistant. Pros and cons.