Apple Hearing Study unintentionally collected historical data from users

Apple Hearing Study
Apple Hearing Study (Image credit: Apple TV+)

What you need to know

  • The Apple Hearing Study accidentally collected historical data from its participants.
  • The data has been deleted and a bug fix released.

In an email sent out to participants of the Apple Hearing Study, it appears that a bug has caused the study to unintentionally collect thirty days of historical data. The data collected were those already consented to by users, but the consent form that users agree to did not state that historical data would be collected.

The letter did confirm that at no time did Apple have access to any of the historical data and that it has already been deleted. In order to fix the bug, users need to update to the latest version of the Apple Research app. Until they do, historical data will continue to be looked for and deleted.

Below is a full readout of the email sent to participants:

Dear Apple Hearing Study Participant,Thank you for your participation in the Apple Hearing Study. When you enrolled in the study, you provided consent to collect certain headphone sound level, environmental sound level, heart rate, and workout data types during the enrollment process. This data is collected to help researchers, listed in the consent form, understand the link between long-term sound exposure and its impact on hearing health. We recently learned that due to a bug, after study enrollment, the Apple Hearing Study unintentionally collected up to 30 days of historical data for these authorized data types. The study only collected data after your consent was obtained. However, the study consent form does not state that historical data will be collected.The bug has now been fixed with a study app update and historical data received to date have been deleted. We remain committed to your privacy and will continue to monitor for and delete any additional historical data if received until you update your Apple Research app. Please update your Apple Research app to the latest version here, to receive the fix.At no time did Apple have access to information collected from the Apple Research app that could directly identify you. Please refer to the study informed consent form for additional details on the data that is being collected, how your data is stored, and who your data might be shared with for the purposes of the study.Please verify that you are using the latest version of the Apple Research app in order to receive the fix. If you need assistance with this, or have additional questions about this issue or the Apple Hearing Study, please contact the Studies Support Center at 833-237-3881.Sincerely,Richard Neitzel, PhD, CIH, FAIHA Associate Professor, University of Michigan Principal Investigator, Apple Hearing Study

You can download the latest version of the Apple Research App on the App Store now.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.