Perhaps you’re concerned about privacy and want to take stock of your personal information big corporations have access to. Alternatively, you may be planning to delete an account but don’t necessarily want your personal information to be lost forever. Downloading a copy of your personal data can be particularly useful for social media sites, as these often contain photos and videos that you may want to hang onto.
Follow along and learn how to download your personal data across all the major online platforms, including Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Download Your Data from Google
You can download a vast array of Google data, including all the files in your Google Drive, your Google Play purchase history, your Gmail settings, and any videos you’ve uploaded to YouTube.
To download your personal data from Google:
1. Head over to the Google Takeout page and log in to your Google account.
2. You should see a list of all the Google products and services. If you don’t want to download data from a particular source, then uncheck its accompanying checkbox.
3. For some products, you can specify the category of data that you want to download. If you see ab “All (product) data included” button, give it a click. You can choose the data you want to include or exclude from your download.
4. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click “Next Step.”
5. You can specify the delivery method and choose between a download link that’s sent to your email. Alternatively, you can add the data to your Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, or Box account.
6. You can choose whether this should be a one-time data export or a recurring export. If you select recurring, then Google will export your data every two months for one year.
7. Select whether you want to receive your data in .zip or .tgz format.
8. Finally, choose a maximum archive size. If your data surpasses this threshold, Google will split your data across multiple archives.
9. When you’re happy with the information you’ve entered, click “Create Export.”
You should receive an email notifying you of the data request. The only thing left to do is wait. According to Google, this process can take hours or possibly even days, so you may need to be patient.
Once the export is complete, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to access your data.
Download Your Data from Apple
You can request a copy of all the data associated with your Apple ID. This is particularly useful if you’re an iCloud user, as you’ll also receive copies of all the photos and videos stored in your iCloud account.
To request a copy of your data:
1. Head over to Apple’s Data & Privacy page. Enter your Apple ID and password. If prompted, complete the authorization process, which typically involves entering a verification code.
2. Select “Request a copy of your data.”
3. Apple will display a list of the various categories of data, including Wallet Activity, AppleCare Support History, and Maps. Select all the categories you want to include in your download and click “Continue.”
4. You have the option to select a maximum file size. The options range from 1GB to 25GB.
5. When you’re happy with the information you’ve entered, click “Complete request.”
Apple will prepare your data. When your file’s ready to download, Apple will send an email to the address associated with your Apple ID.
Download Your Data From Facebook
Facebook’s data is comprehensive and features every invitation you’ve ever received, your entire comment history, and your private messages, complete with copies of all the videos and photos you’ve exchanged via Facebook Messenger.
It’s also interesting to review the advertiser information, which includes a record of your interactions with the businesses and organizations you’ve visited via Facebook.
However, my favorite piece of information is “Life stage description of your friends on Facebook.”
I’m still not entirely sure what this means or why Facebook needs to know it!
If you’re curious about your own life stage description, you can request a copy of your Facebook data:
1. Head over to Facebook and log in to your Facebook account.
2. In the upper-right corner, select the downwards-pointing icon.
3. Select “Settings & Privacy -> Settings.”
4. In the menu on the left, select “Your Facebook Information.”
5. Find the “Download Your Information” section and select its accompanying “View” link.
6. You can specify a date range for the information you want to download.
7. Select your desired format for receiving your data. You can choose between HTML or JSON. You can also specify the quality of the media you download: high, medium, or low.
8. Facebook will display all the categories of data that you can download. You can select and deselect these categories, depending on the data that you want to export.
9.When you’re happy with your selection, click “Create File.”
10. Facebook will prepare your download. Depending on the size of your download, it may take several days to complete.
11. Once your download is ready, you’ll receive a Facebook notification.
12. To download your data, select “Download.” Alternatively, you can select the downward-pointing icon in Facebook’s upper-right corner, then navigate to “Settings & Privacy -> Settings -> Your Facebook Information -> Download your information.” Then select the “Available Copies” tab.
13. Finally, select “Download,” and Facebook will download a copy of your data.
Download Your Data from Twitter
With 187 million daily active users, Twitter is a huge platform. If you’re one of the millions of people who use Twitter on a daily basis, you can download a copy of your Twitter data.
This includes an archive of all your tweets, likes, moments, and direct messages. This can be handy if you plan to delete your Twitter account but don’t want to lose all the photos and videos you’ve tweeted over the years.
The download also includes an “Ads” section, which lists all the adverts that have been displayed as part of your Twitter feed. Each ad contains a “Show Details” section, where you can see why this advert was shown to you.
To download a copy of your Twitter data:
1. Head over to Twitter and log in to your account.
2. In the menu on the left, select “More.”
3. Select “Settings and privacy -> Your account -> Download an archive of your data.”
4. When prompted, enter the password for your Twitter account.
5. Select “Request” access.
6. Twitter will prepare your data. You’ll receive a Twitter notification when your data is ready to download.
To download this information, give the notification a click. When prompted, enter your password, and you can then download your data as a ZIP file.
Download Your Data from Instagram
Instagram is different to other platforms, as you have the option to view your data, without downloading it. You can view various categories of data, using Instagram’s Account Data tool. This information includes a record of all the times you’ve logged in and logged out of your account, your search history, the hashtags you follow, and any accounts you’ve blocked.
If you want to download a copy of your personal Instagram data, you can use Instagram’s Data Download tool. Submit your data request, and Instagram will email a copy to the address associated with your account. Note that this process may take up to 48 hours.
Download Your Data from TikTok
Maybe you’re concerned about the data that TikTok has access to, or perhaps you want to download all your videos and data before deleting the app over privacy concerns. You may even be concerned about a potential ban and want to create a backup of your TikTok content, just in case.
To download your personal TikTok data:
1. Open the TikTok app and navigate to your profile.
2. In the upper right, tap the ellipsis icon.
3. Navigate to “Privacy and safety -> Personalization and data -> Download TikTok Data.”
4. You should now see a list of all the data your request will contain. Find the red “Download” button and give it a tap.
TikTok will now create your download and send you a notification as soon as it’s available.