Apple has launched a new Data & Privacy website, allowing 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. Basically, it’s everything you’ve connected to your Apple ID over the years.
This new site makes it easy to obtain a full copy of everything related to your account. The downside is that in most cases it’s a pretty huge download which 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 after a request. If you want to give it a try, visit the site 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 find quite easily from iOS. This is only useful if you especially want a hard copy of all those things on your computer as a backup.
From the main page, you can also see instructions on how to Correct your data if you think anything stored is wrong. And, if you ever need to close your Apple ID – whether that’s because you’re registering for a new one or giving up all your Apple devices for a while – you can Deactivate your account or Delete your account from this page.
There’s nothing unexpected to be found in the data download, and Apple is quick to point out that all your information is safe, secure, and never ever shared with other parties. Unlike most other tech giants, Apple doesn’t harvest your data in order to sell ads or market things to you. On its privacy micro-site (worth a read if you’re concerned about any of this stuff) Apple describes privacy as a “fundamental human right” and details the many ways it works to protect it.
It’s always been possible to request the private information Apple stores about you, but it was a circuitous process hidden in a Q&A section of the website – and the results didn’t intelligently bundle it up with all your other data like this new service does.