what kind of privacy related info is exposed to third party app developers, if I downloaded and purchase their app?

For example:

  • Physical SIM card info (e.g, Phone number)

  • iPhone board info (e.g, IMEI number)

  • My Apple ID

  • My name and address that I provided Apple as part of the required additional payment information (Like shipping address, even though the apps are not getting "shipped" to me, or my PayPal email address)

  • My MAC address (can it be blocked on iOS 14?)

  • Info related to the Wifi router I often connect to at my home

  • Cookies and cache - How may I track and delete them? for example, I deleted an app that had permission to use my location, but when I re-downloaded it, I didn't have to give it permission again, which means there is some kind of cache somewhere.

I want to get a very clear picture of what kind of info those apps can collect and store about me to identify me in future time.

This is also relevant in case someone buys a used phone, what steps are required to start a "fresh" page when it comes to any of such apps, so the user does not get confused with the previous owner?

  • There should only be one topic per question. Your 2nd question re: "what steps are required to start a fresh page" has already been answered by Apple: "What to do before you sell, give away, or trade in your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch". Wiping and unregistered the device (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, etc.) has been the standard operating procedure since the beginning.
    – Allan
    Oct 22, 2020 at 14:31
  • You're kidding - right? Do you really expect that Apple discloses that in any specific way?
    – Seamus
    Oct 23, 2020 at 9:41
  • Yes I do, this information is our property.
    – Stackaloo
    Oct 23, 2020 at 11:44
  • 1
    @Seamus - it should be disclosed in the developer API documentation under endpoints. That's a pretty reasonable request for any kind of OAUTH tech.
    – tony
    Sep 28, 2021 at 19:47

2 Answers 2


What user info does Apple disclose to third party app developers, once a user purchases an app?

The short answer is it depends.

It depends on what the App developer claims it needs to collect. Apple doesn't sell your data nor will it give out data "willy nilly." But if a product/service that you want requires the sharing of data, Apple will share it.

From Apple's Legal page concerning Privacy:

Disclosure to Third Parties

At times Apple may provide third parties with certain personal information to provide or improve our products and services, including to deliver products at your request, or to help Apple market to consumers. When we do, we require those third parties to handle it in accordance with relevant laws. Apple does not sell personal information, and personal information will never be shared with third parties for their marketing purposes. For example, when you purchase and activate your iPhone, you authorize Apple and your carrier to exchange the information you provide during the activation process to carry out service, including information about your device. If you are approved for service, your account will be governed by Apple and your carrier’s respective privacy policies.

To put this another way - Apple will share what is necessary to provide you with the product/service you're requesting. If there is a 3rd party, your private info they have will be governed by their privacy policy.

As for your data with respect to individual apps, what gets shared depends on what the App itself is requesting. However, it's Apple's policy that you be made aware of what personal info the app requires

App guidelines

On the App Store, Apple requires app developers to adhere by specific guidelines designed to protect user privacy and security. Apple also requires them to provide a privacy policy that you can review. When Apple becomes aware of an app that violates our guidelines, the developer must address the issue or the app will be removed from the App Store. Apps go through a review process before becoming available on the App Store.

(Emphasis mine)

In short, the App you purchase can obtain/use any/all the information you described in your question. However, they must make you aware of it. They may not need nor do you want an App to have have access to PayPal addresses, however, if the App says they collect it, they can. If they do collect it and don't tell you that would be a violation of Apple's Privacy Policy.

On the other side of that coin, your data that they collected (in accordance with Apple's policies) are now governed by their privacy policy. So, if on the App store, they say that they collect your personal information like a Social Security number, and then turn around and sell it, they may be well within their rights to do so if that's what it says in their policy.

Bottom Line

Before purchasing/installing an app, check to see what info the app collects. Many people marvel at how many free apps there are on the App store not realizing the hidden cost - their privacy. App developers want to get paid for their work and if they're not charging you anything up front or have in-app purchases, the app isn't the product they're selling - you are.

  • I have some doubts that the app can really collect everything I mentioned. I would appreciate concrete answer for each of the items I mentioned. for Examples, IMEI number can not be "wiped", so it makes little sense Apple will allow to collect it, since this can hinder user experience if he buys a used phone with an IMEI that was "marked" by an app. The same goes for data on the sim card. Simply not to use apps is not really a solution since we might as well not use a smartphone at all. I'm trying to figure what really can be collected, assuming that the app is trying to collect everything.
    – Stackaloo
    Oct 22, 2020 at 15:27
  • Also, Apple charges 30% commission from the prices users pay on apps. Users pay Apple, and Apple pays the developer, so again, I doubt that Apple voluntarily shares payment details with the developer, like my PayPal email or home address. I really want to find a certified answer on these points.
    – Stackaloo
    Oct 22, 2020 at 15:30
  • I'm not certain what you're missing here. Any/all of that data if available and accessible, can be collected by 3rd party apps. Period. As long as they disclose what they are collecting, they're not in violation of Apple's policy. That's the concrete answer; I can't supply you with specifics on your itemized list when you're vague about the app in question.
    – Allan
    Oct 22, 2020 at 15:42
  • The question is whether that data is really "available and accessible" to third parties. If Apple takes pride on keeping their user privacy, I don't see how they will give access to whatever information that some third party developer caters for. Here is an example showing IMEI can not be accessed by some random app. I'm asking about any app that wants to collect info for the sake of banning their users from ever using the app in the future, in case they "break" the TOS of the app. So question doesn't necessarily apply to a specific app.
    – Stackaloo
    Oct 22, 2020 at 15:55
  • Did you read the second comment in that thread you linked? It is possible. Did you read the first quoted paragraph I supplied in my answer about what is shared? Apple literally gave you an example.
    – Allan
    Oct 22, 2020 at 16:01

I don't provide citations for all of the below, but for many of these it's simply impossible to prove a negative with a primary source. Apple doesn't list all the data developers can't get, since that would be an infinitely long list.


IMEI, MAC, phone numbers, etc. are not available to developers: https://developer.apple.com/forums/thread/31122 (unsure since when for MAC - I don't believe IMEI has ever been available)

Apps cannot view your name, email, address, billing info, etc. This would be a reportable security vulnerability if an app found a way to do this.

Apps also cannot access your web browsing data (cookies, etc.).

Prior to iOS 14, apps could use CNCopyCurrentNetworkInfo to access network SSID.

Starting with iOS 14, apps must meet one of the following conditions for SSID access:

  • The app uses Core Location, and has the user’s authorization to use location information.
  • The app uses the NEHotspotConfiguration API to configure the current Wi-Fi network.
  • The app has an active VPN configuration installed.
  • The app has an active NEDNSSettingsManager configuration installed.

All of these require explicit user action to authorize.

I deleted an app that had permission to use my location, but when I re-downloaded it, I didn't have to give it permission again, which means there is some kind of cache somewhere.

Apps must re-request location access. I'm not sure what you did but permissions are reset when apps are deleted - perhaps there's a short delay or cache, but the app wouldn't control it and I'm certain that at least after a restart the app wouldn't have that permission when reinstalled.

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