Apple may not be the pro-privacy company it claims to be so proud of — a new study finds that the tech giant collects data about its customers as they use its apps, even if they’ve turned off analytics sharing.
The discovery was made by two developers who discovered that the tech giant records your every move in the App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV, Books and Stocks.
This allows Apple to create profiles of users that include how long they’ve been looking at a specific app, the stocks they’re viewing, and what ads they’ve seen, along with ID numbers and the type of device being used.
It’s not clear why Apple is backing down on its pro-privacy stance, but it has recently added ads to the App Store app and collecting data could be a way to better understand how their ads work.
The independent research was conducted by a few software developers who discovered that Apple records all your movements in its built-in apps, including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV, Books and Stocks.
The Apple Device & Privacy support page states that it must have user consent to collect such information from devices.
‘None of the information collected personally identifies you’ the page is reading.
“Personal data is either not logged at all, subject to privacy-preserving techniques such as differential privacy, or is removed from all reports before being sent to Apple.”
DailyMail.com has contacted Apple for comment.
Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry, the security researchers who discovered the data collection, posted videos on Twitter showing how the information is stored by Apple.
However, the team notes in a video about their research that “iOS 16 behavior will likely be the same.” The video shows a screen with several requests, all timestamped, sent to Apple from the App Store app
The data in a single request shows that Apple ID numbers that can identify the user
This was only found in iOS 14.6 – “It’s unclear if Apple is still collecting analytics data in iOS 16,” the team shared in a tweet on their company account, mysky.
However, the team notes in a video about their research that “iOS 16 behavior will likely be the same.”
The video shows a screen with several requests, all timestamped, sent to Apple from the App Store app.
The requests are every time the user was in the App Store app.
Within a single request are redacted IDs that can identify the session and map it to the user’s data profile.
Also hiding in the data collection is the user’s device being used.
The example in the video shows the person using an ‘iPhone 10’.
Also hiding in the data collection is the user’s device being used. The example in the video shows the person using an ‘iPhone 10’
The request also shows that the user viewed the Daily Themed Crossword Puzzles app while searching the App Store and how long they looked at it
The video also shows how the user viewed the Daily Themed Crossword Puzzles app while searching the App Store and how long he looked at it.
While a crossword puzzle app may sound harmless, Gizmodo gives a more serious reason why Apple’s data collection should not be ignored.
If you are looking for mental health, sexual orientation and religious apps in the App Store, this data is sent directly to the tech giant’s servers and stored – some of which may be sensitive information for some people.
The researchers conducted similar tests with the Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge apps and found that when analytics sharing is turned off, the apps are unable to collect data from the device.
Not only is unauthorized data collection a serious problem, Apple also positions itself as a company that respects the privacy of its users.
On its Privacy page, the tech giant clearly shares: ‘Privacy is a fundamental human right. It is also one of our core values. That’s why we design our products and services to protect them. That’s the kind of innovation we believe in.’