Apple Explains What They Really Do with Your Data: Nothing

We’ve been focused so much the past few years on what is happening to our data. What are the companies we entrust our data to doing with it? We know what Google is doing with it, and quite frankly, we don’t like it. And we’ve learned what Facebook is doing with it, and that has us very upset.

It’s easy to assume all tech companies are the same, looking to sell our data that we entrusted them with to third parties so that they can make a buck. But Apple was asked by United States lawmakers recently how iPhone use is tracked without users’ knowledge or consent. The good news is they’re not doing anything with the user data and are protecting their users’ privacy as well.

Apple’s Response

Time-out Powderly, Apple’s director of federal government affairs, responded to the lawmaker’s questions by stating, “Apple’s philosophy and approach to customer data differs from many other companies on these important issues.

We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and purposely design our products and services to minimize our collection of customer data,” he continued.


The customer is not our product, and our business model does not depend on collecting vast amounts of personally identifiable information to enrich targeted profiles marketed to advertisers.

In just those few paragraphs, Powderly explains everything and indeed lets us know that they are different from some of the other tech companies. Some may doubt it, and I’m sure there will be some who do, but they are different. They are not selling our data. They are respecting our privacy.

And if you’ll remember, Apple has already gone up against the government with regards to protecting their customers’ data. The government wanted access to the data in an iPhone belonging to a deceased shooting suspect. Apple refused. And when some other companies figured out how to break into iPhones, Apple fixed their iPhones to protect the data once again.

How the Data and Privacy Are Protected

For these answers we are depending on TechCrunch’s writeup. CNET has published Apple’s response in full; however, those who want to read it have to sign up with a third-party by giving their email, name, and a password for the download. And in this discussion, it just seems wrong.


TechCrunch explains that for the users who have Location Services enabled, their phones will collect data, depending on what wireless options are selected. While Apple does receive that data, it’s anonymous and encrypted, and Apple says “this anonymous data is not used to target advertising to the user.”

While we’ve heard that some virtual assistants store voice queries, “Siri utterances, which include the audio trigger and the remainder of the Siri command, are tied to a random device identifier, not a user’s Apple ID,” according to Apple. However, the identifier can be reset, which will make any data associated with it disappear.

Trust Is Your Choice

Ultimately, though the choice is yours whether you will trust Apple with your data or not. It’s a given that not everyone will choose to believe their claims that they honor their users’ privacy and don’t set out to profit off it,.

Ho do you feel about Apple and their use of data? Do you believe them that they honor the privacy of their users and don’t profit off the data? Or do you think they’re not telling the complete truth? Does this change what you think of Apple or how companies deal with your data?

Add your thoughts in our comments section below.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.


  1. “How the Data and Privacy Are Protected”
    The best way to protect user/customer privacy is NOT to harvest their data. Today Apple may not be selling the data or using it for targeted advertising. However, tomorrow the corporate policy may change for a thousand reasons and users will become the product. Just look at how Microsoft corporate policy has changed from the time of Steve Balmer to today.

  2. While Apple may have good intentions, and may even adhere to their claims, most tracking is done by service providers (e.g., Google, Facebook, etc.), not hardware manufacturers. So even if Apple is doing the right things from a privacy perspective, the user is still the product as soon as you leave the Apple ecosystem.

  3. Right. And Santa isn’t collecting children’s names either. He’s just giving out presents.

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