Siri data: History can only be deleted to a limited extent

Apple's new delete function for the Siri history only covers a limited time frame: If the user deletes the Siri and dictation history via the function introduced with iOS 13.2 and macOS 10.15.1, the data collected from Apple's servers in the previous six months will be a maximum removed – and not the entire Siri history.

Apple reserves the right to keep Siri data for up to two years. Siri inquiries, which are evaluated by the company for product improvement, can even be kept "for more than two years", it says in the footnote of a support document – without naming another specific time frame.

The digital assistant Siri can now be activated by voice command even without a connected power cable. A new co-process location makes it possible.

(Image: dpa, Andrea Warnecke)

When using Siri, not only the respective request is transmitted to Apple's server, but also additional data including names and relationships from the address book, names of the users' devices and members of the family share, names of smart home hardware, names of photo albums and a list of installed apps, as Apple explains in the Siri privacy policy.

Siri requests are associated with a device-specific random ID – and not the Apple ID – which is valid for six months. This data linked to the random ID is the maximum that can be removed from Apple's servers using the new delete function. A specific deletion of certain inquiries is not intended.

After the six months have passed, Apple unlinks the requests from the random ID and stores them for up to two years – this data record can then no longer be removed by the user.

In Apple's documentation on Siri data storage, it remains unclear whether the delete function only removes audio recordings or also automatically generated transcripts of the requests. At one point it is said that only the "voice input" is deleted, at other points it is referred to as "communication history" and "interactions". A request from Apple for clarification remained unanswered.

If the use of Siri audio recordings with iOS 13.2 has been contradicted, Apple continues to save computer-generated transcriptions of the requests. This cannot be rejected, except by deactivating and thus not using the voice assistance system. Apple emphasizes that no Siri data is used for profiling for advertising purposes, "only a minimum is saved" and that the data is not sold to third parties.


. (TagsToTranslate) Apple (t) Privacy (t) Siri (t) voice processing