The short answer: No, Apple doesn’t do this.
But in the age when everybody tracks everyone and everything, you deserve a more detailed response highlighting the reasons why it’s not the case.
So here is the long answer:
Huge companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple are known for their almost unlimited abilities to track user data for various purposes. Facebook openly cooperates with U.S. government providing them with not only basic information like name or registration date, but with account content or IP address logs upon request.
Another purpose of data tracking is targeted advertising. Online businesses often collect user’s data to personalize their offers and, as the result, get better conversion rates.
And not only large companies do that. Website development becomes more affordable, thanks to website builders that offer free business websites and hosting for young entrepreneurs. Small business owners often sell their ad inventory to larger publishers to increase their website income, so they also enable data tracking to serve more precise advertisements to their visitors.
Not all users are ok with data tracking. 73% of Janrain’s survey participants think that websites know too much about them. Americans wish they had more protection over their personal data and are in favor of issuing similar law to GDPR but in the United States.
Wiretapping as the Next Level of User Tracking
You scroll your Instagram feed and realize that all ads you see hit the bull’s eye. It kind of makes you wonder of whether Instagram algorithms learned to read our minds, or probably the app just reads direct messages we send to our friends. The first option is being brushed away as too unreal, while the second one could be the uncomfortable truth.
The same thoughts come to mind when you use other applications, including native Apple apps like FaceTime and iMessage. Just like Instagram is tracking your daily habits, Apple could spy on you through wiretapping your FaceTime calls and iMessage chats.
However, Apple doesn’t do that and even refused a request from the Department of Justice for real-time iMessage wiretapping. Tim Cook commented on the issue: “If the government laid a subpoena to get iMessages, we can’t provide it. It’s encrypted and we don’t have a key. And so it’s sort of — the door is closed.”
The same applies to FaceTime. Its chats are based on the end-to-end encryption algorithm, which means none can tap into the call except you and the person you’re calling. Apple reports that the company doesn’t record video calls, so they can’t be stored in iCloud or any other storage service.
By the way, there is software that can record FaceTime calls, so your major concern should be your trust in the person you’re talking to. As to iMessage, make sure you created a strong password for your iCloud account and enabled two-factor authentication. In a case of a weak password and disabled two-factor authentication, anybody who knows you well may guess it and access your iMessage chats without your consent.
Some experts claim that the Government could request iMessage chats, although not in real time. Apple allows its users to create back-ups of their phones with the old messages storing in the cloud as well. But for now, there is no such a possibility for our dear authorities to invade the personal lives of iOS users, and that’s obviously for good.
Yet, this doesn’t change the fact that Apple could build their software otherwise and wiretap you and millions of others if they wanted to. Would you still buy an Apple device if it was the truth?