How to limit the amount of data Apple collects about you

How to limit the amount of data Apple collects about you

Apple always puts privacy first, however, it still gathers some of your data. However, you can take it under control. Here's how to manage your data security on Apple devices and protect it as much as possible.

What does Apple know about you?

First of all, Apple knows your name, email address, Apple ID credentials, and payment details since you provide it with the registration. 

Apple can also collect data on how you use your devices: the apps, searches in App Store, analytics, information about your location, and health details, but only if you let it. Everything Apple knows about you is written in its privacy statement which is rather long but quite comprehensive. 

What can you hide from Apple?

Apple sells ads since 2016, and App Store has become its primary market. It can show you contextual and personalized ads based on your data. They are suggested to you based on your App Store search history, browsing activity, your age, gender, interests, location, etc. Although, Apple's privacy policy for Siri, for example, says that your requests are linked with a random identifier and not your Apple ID. "Identifiable information is never shared with third parties and is not used to track users across apps and websites. All data used for advertising purposes is disassociated from personal identifiers, and Apple Advertising operates on the basis of de-identified data," said Apple spokesperson Shane Bauer.

However, in 2022, the CNIL's (Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés – the Data Protection Authority for France) restricted committee imposed an administrative fine of 8 million euros on Apple because it did not collect the consent of iPhone's French users (iOS 14.6 version) before depositing and/or writing identifiers used for advertising purposes on their terminals.

Anyway, there is a way to manually limit Apple from collecting your data. And here's how.  

How to limit Apple data tracking?

  • You can switch off personalized ads in the App Store, TV, News, and Stocks apps. To do so, go to your Apple device's Settings > Privacy & Security > Apple Advertising and toggle off the Personalized Ads option. If it was on, you could see the ad targeting information that Apple used about you.
  • Within Settings and each app (especially Apple News and Stocks) you can toggle on the option to reset identifiers. 
  • In Privacy & Security section, go to Analytics & Improvements and toggle off the following options: Share iPhone Analytics, Share iCloud Analytics, Improve Safety, Improve Siri & Dictation. 
  • Take some time and review the permissions for your other apps in the Privacy & Security section, check which apps can see your location, and stop third-party apps from tracking your activity. 
  • Disable Location services if you don't want to share your location.
© iPhone

Note: You can see what data Apple has about you via its download tool.

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