What Data Does Apple Collect?

The new Apple Watch Series 6 is now on the market ready for purchase. Like every other big tech company (Google, Samsung, and LG), it feels like Apple comes out with one brand-new gizmo and another great gadget every other month. Really, it’s hard to keep up.

But what’s even harder to keep track of is your data. How much personal information does Apple store about you, and what does the company do with it? How can you delete your information from Apple and keep it private?

We’ll share how you can protect your data no matter how many iPad minis, Apple Watches, and iPad Airs you have, or how much Apple News+ you read.

What information does Apple collect?

Unfortunately, Apple (like Google and Facebook) collects a ton of data—more than you probably realize. Despite Apple’s claims in the past about protecting user’s privacy, this tech giant partners with other large tech companies that collect user data (like Google).

You really can’t escape the fact that Apple is collecting your information: from what you purchase on your Apple Card, to information on your Apple ID, to everything you enter on your devices, including the new Apple Watch Series 6.

Why does Apple collect my information?

Like any other tech giant, there are multiple reasons Apple collects user information. First, the company uses targeted advertisements—meaning it collects information from what you search and buy so they can create ads for items you might be interested in.

Apple also collects data so it can continue predicting things you’ll like and the stuff you’ll buy, just like other large tech companies do. But Apple claims it protects the privacy of users more than other companies.

However, even though Apple claims to keep user data private, it’s still collecting and using tons of data on you. This includes songs and programs you download, what you listen to, and websites you visit.

With all your internet data being stored online, now it’s super imperative to protect your information.

How do I delete my data from Apple?

Deleting your data from Apple really depends on which device you have. We’ll use the Apple Watch Series 6 as an example (deleting data on any other Apple devices is similar to these steps). 

  1. Go to the Settings app. 
  2. Select General. 
  3. Click Reset 
  4. Select Erase All Content and Settings. 
  5. Enter your passcode. 

You can also erase your history on your Apple Watch by using your iPhone. Go to settings on your iPhone and follow the same steps as above.

What happens when I erase all data from my Apple device?

The problem with erasing your data from an Apple device (like your Apple Watch) is that it completely erases all the information you entered. So your contacts, your music, your cards for Apple Pay, your photos, and any apps you downloaded will all be gone.

This might be great if you’re going to sell your Apple Watch. But if you’re just looking for more privacy, then deleting all your info on an Apple device almost defeats the purpose of having one.

How do I keep my information private on an Apple device?

There’s actually a number of ways you can keep your data private online. Instead of deleting everything from your Apple ID, you might want to consider using a virtual private network (VPN). The VPN will help keep your data private by encrypting your information, making it much harder to collect, track, or hack into.

While you can’t download a VPN on your Apple Watch directly, you can use one through your phone (and connect it to your watch). As long as your Apple Watch is connected to your phone, you’ll be protected by your VPN. Below is a chart of the top three VPNs in 2020 that will also work on your Apple Watch.

Best VPN services price comparison
VPN providerPriceNumber of VPN serversMost powerful featureDetails
NordVPN$11.95/mo.5,760Free malware protection softwareView Plans
Hotspot Shield$7.99/mo3,200+Free password managerView Plans
ExpressVPN$12.95/mo.3,000+Best interface that’s clear and easy to useView Plans

Data effective 11/19/2020. Offers subject to change.

Sources 

1.  Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, “Apple’s Empty Grandstanding About Privacy.” January 31, 2019. Accessed November 19, 2020.
2.  Jefferson Graham, USA Today, “Apple Took 8 Days to Give Me the Data It Had Collected on Me. It Was Eye Opening.” May 4, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2020.