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Ask an Expert – Apple’s personal data store

No time to drop into the Apple Store and ask the Genius Bar for help with your iPhone or iPad? Maybe one of our resident experts can help!

As Apple nerds, we get asked a lot of tech support questions – and some of those questions crop up time and time again. Here’s a recent query that we think will be familiar to many of you.

“Apple says it’s big on privacy, but is there a way to see exactly what kinds of data it does store about me?”

There sure is! A couple of years ago Apple made this a lot easier with its dedicated Data & Privacy website.

This site allows users to see the full extent of the information stored about them on Apple’s servers. That includes all the stuff you store in iCloud – such as photos and videos – but also personal data like bank details, purchase history, contacts, notes, calendars, and even how many times you’ve been to an Apple Store for support.

It’s great that Apple allows easy access to everything it knows about you. The downside is that in most cases it’s a pretty huge download that can only be fully explored via a Mac or PC, and it can take up to a week for Apple to prepare the data for download.

If you want to give it a try, visit the site at and log into your Apple ID. You may be asked to confirm your identity with two-factor authentication. Then, press Get a copy of your data. You can then choose exactly which types of data you want access to before continuing.

Note that downloading your data from iCloud Drive, iCloud Mail, or iCloud Photos will result in a huge download file and won’t reveal anything you can’t already access freely from iOS. We suggest only requesting these files if you need a hard copy to back up manually.