Siri isn’t just a pretty voice with the answers. It’s also been recording and keeping all the questions users ask.
Exactly what the voice assistant does with the data isn’t clear, but Apple confirmed that it keeps users’ questions for up to two years. Siri, which needs to be connected to the Internet to function, sends all of its users’ queries to Apple.
Apple revealed the information after Wired posted an article this week raising the question and highlighting the fact that the privacy statement for Siri wasn’t very clear about how long that information is kept or what would be done with it.
Technically Apple keeps Siri user data for six months, associating that data with the user. After that time, the company will disassociate users from the data, meaning it will remove any identifiers for who input that particular query into Siri. But for the next 18 months, Apple said, it keeps the disassociated data for the sake of product testing and improvement purposes.
The Cupertino, Calif., tech company didn’t return calls seeking more information, particularly on whether Apple shares the data with anyone else.
Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told Wired that “our customers’ privacy is very important to us.”
Apple said that if a user turns off Siri, all the stored queries that are associated with that user over the last six months are deleted.
To turn off Siri, users can head to the settings app and tap “General” followed by “Siri.” There, users can switch the toggle to the right of “Siri” from “On” to “Off.”
Siri launched with the iPhone 4S more than a year ago and is now on the iPhone 5, the third- and fourth-generation iPad, the fifth-generation iPod Touch and the iPad mini.