How to download a copy of everything Apple knows about you

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How to download a copy of everything Apple knows about you

  • Apple launched a new privacy website this week.
  • The website makes it easier to download everything Apple has stored about you.
  • Here's how to download everything and delete it if you want to.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, smiles during a demonstration of the newly released Apple products following the launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, September 12, 2018.
Stephen Lam | Reuters
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, smiles during a demonstration of the newly released Apple products following the launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, September 12, 2018.

Apple launched a new privacy website on Wednesday that makes it easier to download a full copy of everything you've stored on the company's servers. You can also delete everything in case you want to move your data from Apple to another company.

CNBC has covered how to do this before, but you used to have to send a request saying you wanted to download your data. Apple's new website makes it even easier. It was originally available in Europe to comply with the EU's new GDPR privacy law, but now it's available in the U.S. You can get a copy of your app usage and activity, your Apple Store (both retail and online) activity, iCloud bookmarks, iCloud Calendars, Notes, a complete copy of your iCloud Drive, iCloud Mail, iCloud Photos and more.

Here's how.

Visit Apple's new privacy website

First, go to Apple's new privacy website, privacy.apple.com. This is where you'll choose exactly what you want to download. You can select certain things that might be important, like your App Store activity or all the notes you've stored in iCloud. If there are items you don't use, then you don't have to check them.

At the bottom of the page you'll see a list of files that might be large, like your entire iCloud photo library. My iCloud Photos library is huge and, since I'm not planning to delete or leave Apple services, I didn't download a copy of this.

Once you've selected what you want to download a copy of, hit continue on the bottom of the page.

Select a file size

Next, you'll select a maximum file size. I suggest just choosing the largest. It'll take the longest time to download, but then everything is at least in a single folder, instead of multiple files. Then, select "Complete Request."

Check your email and download your files

Next, Apple will send you an email confirming that it's preparing your data for download. Apple warns that it might take up to seven days to get a copy of your data. Some of it will be in spreadsheet form, like the apps you've purchased. If you've chosen a hard copy of your data, like photos, then you'll have a copy of all of them too.

How to delete everything Apple has stored on you

Finally, you can choose to delete everything if you want to.

Here's how:

  • Visit Apple's privacy website.
  • Select "Delete your account."
  • Choose a reason why you're deleting your information.
  • Select "Continue."

Note: If you delete your account, you won't be able to access any iTunes purchases, including books, apps, movies or music. You also won't receive iMessage or FaceTime chats. Your iCloud email will also stop working.