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.

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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.

Top Rated Comments

gpat Avatar
11 weeks 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: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
madmin Avatar
11 weeks 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: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
solq Avatar
11 weeks 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: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hacky Avatar
11 weeks 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: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vegetassj4 Avatar
11 weeks ago
Et tu Tim Apple?



Attachment Image
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiiDSmoker Avatar
11 weeks 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: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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