Apple: Hey Siri and Live Photos data stays only on your device to ensure privacy

“Apple’s new ‘Hey Siri’ feature “now no longer requires that your phone be plugged in to power to be active,” Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch. “An ‘always listening’ phone logically raises some questions about how that data will be handled, transmitted and sent. Live Photos, as well, are a new wrinkle — photographs with audio and motion attached.”

“Because Live Photos record motion before your still image, they are continuously buffered beginning the moment you open your camera app and see the Live icon (orange circle) at the top of your screen. Apple says that this 1.5 second recording only happens when the camera is on, and this information is not permanently saved until you take a picture, period,” Panzarino reports. “‘Although the camera is ‘recording’ while you’re in Live Photo mode, the device will not save the 1.5 seconds before until you press the camera button,’ says Apple. ‘The pre-captured images are not saved to the user’s device nor are they sent off the device… We treat privacy and security of Live Photos the same that we do for existing Photos and Videos. They don’t leave the device for any reason unless you purposely share it or elect to use iCloud.'”

“Hey Siri is an optional feature that is enabled by an opt-in step in iOS 9’s setup. You can choose never to enable it. If you do enable it, nothing is ever recorded in any way before the feature is triggered,” Panzarino reports. “‘In no case is the device recording what the user says or sending that information to Apple before the feature is triggered,’ says Apple.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: People who value privacy and security use Apple products.


  1. If I am not mistaken, the iPhone camera is “on” as soon as you open the app. It has always worked this. I also believe that most mobile cameras work this: capture data as soon as app is open. The buffer is continually dumping stuff until you click the capture button. Nothing is saved until you click the button. The only change with Live Photo is that it retains (records/saves) the ¾ seconds of capture before and after the shutter click. There is no more of a security/privacy issue with this than any smartphone camera you may own now.

    1. In truth, I believe that the security/privacy issues are lower with an iPhone (with or without Live Photo) than with any other non-Apple smartphone camera you may own. Every word and every action that Apple has taken since the original release of the iPhone in 2007, as well as Apple’s history with Macs prior to the iPhone, provides me with confidence that Apple’s focus is on the user – user privacy, user experience. Apple’s approach to personal data, Touch ID, advertisements and ad tracking, etc., all favor the user over the quick buck. As a result, Apple grows its customer base and customer loyalty and earns the profits over the ling term. Thanks, Apple. I vote with my dollar every time that I purchase an Apple product or service.

      There are those who would call me a brainwashed Apple fanboy for making that statement. They are entitled to their (flawed) opinions, although I certainly wish that they would patronize forums other than MDN because they get tiresome.

    2. A big problem is the voice recording. In Florida it is illegal to record someone talking without their permission. Photos and Video are not the same, however most video has audio. There are exceptions for law enforcement and journalists doing their undercover work. I am sure we are not the only state. We have to have obvious signage for security systems. Recording someone harassing you on the phone can not be used against them in court, but can you. The audio part of Live Photos could get some people in trouble.

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