On Wednesday, Apple began allowing its U.S. users to download their personal data, such as app usage history, calendars, photos and more. Here’s how.
3 min read
Feeling paranoid about the data big corporations have on you? Now you can see exactly what’s been collected, at least when it comes to Apple.
The tech giant — as well as its apps and services — stores information such as purchase and app usage history, calendars, documents and photos, and as of Wednesday, it’s introduced a new way for U.S. users to download their personal data. (The feature was made available to European customers months ago as a requirement of the General Data Protection Regulation.)
When you request a copy of your data, Apple says it may take up to seven days to fulfill. (That’s so they can verify it was you — and not an imposter — who asked for your personal data, it says.) But keep in mind that because most Apple data is stored on your devices themselves, there may be less in your final report than you expected.
As for what you’ll see when your request is fulfilled (and what form it will come in)? Apple has a support page explaining exactly what you might be sent. App usage and activity information could come your way in the form of spreadsheets or PDF files; contacts, calendars and bookmarks may show up in HTML format; and your documents, photos and videos should be available in their original formats. You’ll be able to access your contacts, calendars and bookmarks as well, but Apple says the download won’t include app, book, movie, TV show or music purchases.
Here’s what you need to do access your Apple data:
1. Sign in to Apple’s privacy portal.
Head to privacy.apple.com, then enter your Apple ID and password. You may have to answer security questions or follow prompts for two-factor authentication. Once you’re logged in, click “Continue.”
2. Request a copy of your data.
On the “Manage your data” screen, the first option is “Get a copy of your data.” Under that section, click “Get started.”
3. Select the data you’d like to download.
You can decide to download information such as your Apple Music activity, Apple ID account and device information, AppleCare support history and repair requests, iCloud Contacts, iCloud Notes and marketing subscriptions. The last checkable item on the list: a nebulous option marked “Other data.” Then there’s another section for large files that may take a long time to download, such as iCloud Mail and Photos. You may as well choose “Select All” in both sections. When you’re finished, click “Continue.”
4. Choose a maximum file size for your downloads.
Options range from 1 GB to 25 GB, and whichever size you choose, Apple will divide your data into files of that size or smaller. When you’ve chosen, click “Complete request.”
5. Wait up to seven days for an email notification that your data is ready.
You can check the status of your data request by visiting privacy.apple.com/account.