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Data & Privacy: access everything stored against your Apple ID

Ever wonder exactly what kind of data Apple stores about you?

Apple is pretty hot on data privacy, much more so than other tech giants, and where possible tries to keep things securely on your device itself. Even the stuff stored in iCloud is fully encrypted, and most of it’s not visible to anyone but you, or obfuscated in some way like Maps requests.

But considering how many different things are tied to your Apple ID – photos, videos, purchases, browsing, contacts, notes, and even Apple Store visits – you might be curious to see exactly what the company knows about you.

You’re in luck: there’s a way to download your data. Every single thing Apple has to your name. If need be, you can transfer it, correct it, delete it, or back it up locally and offline. Here’s how.

Download your data

Apple’s Manage your data page 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 sign in with your Apple ID. You may be asked to confirm your identity with two-factor authentication. Press Request a copy of your data.

You can then choose exactly which types of data you want access to. Read the list and tick anything you want a copy of and hit Continue.

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, on the run from the feds, or giving up all your Apple devices for a while – you can Deactivate your account or Delete your account from this page.

What’s stored?

There’s nothing unexpected or worrying 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 many companies, 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.