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Apple data collection
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Security & privacy

Here’s what Apple knows about you (and how to stop more data collection)

It shouldn’t be surprising that online services such as Facebook and Instagram know a lot about you. After all, it is their business model to know exactly where you go, what you do and what you enjoy. Use Apple, Google, Facebook or Twitter? Here’s how to find out what they know about you.

All these social media companies use your collected data for personalized advertising to increase revenue. Without personalized ads (which they charge a premium for), they most likely would need to start charging users a fee.

But it’s not just services that keep tabs on you. Your mobile phone also collects data about you that you might not know. Read on to see what Apple knows about you and what you can do about it.

Here’s the backstory

Your mobile phone, whether it’s the latest Android model from Google or a six-year-old iPhone from Apple, stores your information. Your device not only stores cherished photos and videos but also safeguards your banking information and sensitive emails.

Google is intrinsically linked to Android, so the company automatically knows many of your details if you use a phone that runs on its operating system. On the other hand, Apple has been a ferocious defender of privacy for many years.

Some time ago, Apple introduced its App Privacy Report. This lets you see which apps and services have access to your device’s tools, such as the camera, GPS and microphone. It also shows you which apps and websites request internet connections. Tap or click here to learn more about Apple’s App Privacy Report.

But few know that Apple, like Google, collects lots of information based on your activities and habits. When you get a new iPhone, you must scroll through mountains of terms and conditions, most of which people glance over. However, the data that Apple collects is tucked away in the 4,000-word privacy policy.

What you can do about it

Some of the data Apple collects is what you willingly provide, while other data sets are gathered from third-party apps and services. Generally, you must agree to this data collection. So, what does Apple know about you?

To use an iPhone as intended, Apple collects your name, email address, Apple ID and payment details.

Occasionally, it can also collect your health, location and fitness data. For other services, it’s not unusual for the tech giant to gather your device information, your IP address, network carrier and the MAC address of your Wi-Fi connection.

With data from third-party apps such as Google and Facebook, Apple can build a robust profile on you for personalized advertising. So, the first thing you must do to limit your data accessibility is to turn off Personalized Ads in the Apple Advertising section.

How to disable Apple Advertising:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap Privacy & Security.
  • Scroll down to the bottom and tap Apple Advertising.
  • Slide the toggle next to Personalized Ads to the left to disable the tool. NOTE: This will turn off personalized ads but won’t reduce the number of ads you see.

On the Apple Advertising page, tap View Ad Targeting Information. This will give you insight into what information Apple knows about you.

There is more you can do to protect your privacy. Stop sharing iPhone and iCloud analytics, and stop sharing information with app developers. Here’s how:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap Privacy & Security.
  • Scroll down and select Analytics & Improvements.
  • Slide the toggle next to Share iPhone Analytics to the left to disable the feature.
  • Slide the toggle next to Share iCloud Analytics to the left to disable the feature.
  • Slide the toggle next to Share With App Developers to the left to disable the feature.

Still worried about security? Tap or click for seven important iPhone security settings to change right now.

Keep reading

Delete this secret ID hiding on your phone that gives away your personal details

How to limit ad tracking on Android

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