Apple Device Analytics Contain Identifying iCloud User Data, Claim Security Researchers

A new analysis has claimed that Apple's device analytics contain information that can directly link information about how a device is used, its performance, features, and more, directly to a specific user, despite Apple's claims otherwise.

appleprivacyad cleaned
On Twitter, security researchers Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry have found that Apple's device analytics data includes an ID called "dsId," which stands for Directory Services Identifier. The analysis found that the dsId identifier is unique to every iCloud account and can be linked directly to a specific user, including their name, date of birth, email, and associated information stored on ‌iCloud‌.


On Apple's device analytics and privacy legal page, the company says no information collected from a device for analytics purposes is traceable back to a specific user. "iPhone Analytics may include details about hardware and operating system specifications, performance statistics, and data about how you use your devices and applications. None of the collected information identifies you personally," the company claims.

In one possible differentiator, Apple says that if a user agrees to send analytics information from multiple devices logged onto the same ‌iCloud‌ account, it may "correlate some usage data about Apple apps across those devices by syncing using end-to-end encryption." Even in doing so, however, Apple says the user remains unidentifiable to Apple. We've reached out to Apple for comment.

Apple has historically taken a hard stance on user privacy, repeatedly claiming it believes privacy is a "fundamental human right." Apple's privacy claims have been under increasing scrutiny in recent months, with the company now facing a class action lawsuit accusing it of tracking users without their consent.

Popular Stories

ios 18 button bulge

iOS 18 Adds Pop-Out Bezel Animation When Pressing iPhone Buttons

Tuesday June 11, 2024 10:40 am PDT by
iOS 18 includes a small but interesting change for the buttons on the iPhone, adding more of a visual element when changing volume, activating the Action button, or locking the screen. When you press an iPhone button in iOS 18, the display bezel bulges outward slightly. This feature is available for the volume buttons, Action button and the power button, and it will also likely be used for...
iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

Revealed: iOS 18 Works With These iPhone Models

Monday June 10, 2024 3:57 am PDT by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the same iPhone models as iOS 17, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and hence also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, but older iPhone models will miss out. Here is the full...
Next Gen CarPlay WWDC24 1

Apple Provides Updated Look at Next-Generation CarPlay at WWDC 2024

Monday June 10, 2024 7:11 pm PDT by
Apple today shared a few WWDC 2024 coding sessions related to its upcoming next-generation CarPlay system ahead of its launch later this year. The sessions include lots of updated next-generation CarPlay images, with one revealing new Vehicle, Media, and Climate apps in action for the first time. MacRumors previously discovered evidence of these apps in the iOS 17.4 beta. Next-generation...
ios 18 tile summary

Apple Announces iOS 18 With New Customization Features, Redesigned Photos App, and More

Monday June 10, 2024 10:17 am PDT by
Apple today previewed iOS 18, the next major update to the operating system for the iPhone, with new customization features, a redesigned Photos app, and more. iOS 18 features new customization tools for the Home Screen. App icons now feature Dark Mode and users can tint them with a color to create a unique look. Apps can also now be placed anywhere on the Home Screen freely. The Control...
sequoia

macOS Sequoia and iPadOS 18 Drop Support for These Macs and iPads

Monday June 10, 2024 4:13 pm PDT by
macOS Sequoia is still compatible with several Intel-based Macs, but it does drop support for 2018 and 2019 models of the MacBook Air. macOS Sequoia is compatible with the following Macs, according to Apple: MacBook Pro: 2018 and later MacBook Air: 2020 and later Mac mini: 2018 and later iMac: 2019 and later iMac Pro: 2017 Mac Studio: 2022 and later Mac Pro: 2019 and later The...
maxresdefault

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2024 in Nine Minutes

Monday June 10, 2024 7:59 pm PDT by
Apple crammed an overwhelming number of new features into its WWDC 2024 keynote event, introducing Apple Intelligence, iOS 18, iPadOS 18, macOS Sequoia, visionOS 2, watchOS 11, and tvOS 18. It was hard to keep up with everything that Apple highlighted, so we did a video of all of the new additions you won't want to miss. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We've also...
iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

Massive iPhone Upgrade Coming This Week But These Devices Will Miss Out

Sunday June 9, 2024 1:25 pm PDT by
Apple is planning a major AI overhaul in iOS 18, with a feature set it is referring to as "Apple Intelligence." However, these new features will not work on older iPhones, even if they do appear on the new operating system's device compatibility list. Apple's initial AI roadmap for iOS 18 is said to come in two parts: Basic AI features that will be processed on-device, and more advanced...

Top Rated Comments

gpat Avatar
21 months ago

can be linked directly to a specific user, including their name, date of birth, email, and associated information stored on iCloud

Doesn't mean it IS linked. Context is everything and it’s only a guess at this stage. It’s a nothing story at this point.
You can't be serious.
Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
madmin Avatar
21 months ago
More reports like this are coming out lately, while Apple keeps quiet. They should probably do an announcement to clarify exactly what they do and don't do and what (if anything) has changed, for the sake of openness.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
solq Avatar
21 months ago
I always turn off device analytics. There's no reason to upload personal usage data to Apple, especially as it can increase your exposure to security issues.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
3530025 Avatar
21 months ago

can be linked directly to a specific user, including their name, date of birth, email, and associated information stored on iCloud

Doesn't mean it IS linked. Context is everything and it’s only a guess at this stage. It’s a nothing story at this point.

Where does it say that Apple are linking a persons id and details to the cloud?
You really can't be serious. The fact alone that IT IS identifiable is problem from the privacy perspective. If you don't understand that, you don't understand the privacy at all.

If I would record cars passing by some point while keeping information about
- registration plate
- rest of the car
- cell phone number of all phones passing by at the same time

while censoring the actual face in the photo. That's the similar thing like this case. Would you call it good privacy? With all these information gathered, you are able to link cars to people pretty reliably.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vegetassj4 Avatar
21 months ago
Et tu Tim Apple?



Attachment Image
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiiDSmoker Avatar
21 months ago

I always turn off device analytics. There's no reason to upload personal usage data to Apple, especially as it can increase your exposure to security issues.
Really should be off by default if Apple actually cares about privacy instead of saying they care about privacy.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)