Art: Jesus Escudero
April 15, 2022 6:00 AM PDT

Privacy is one of the selling points of Apple products. But for employees who develop these products, it can be a pain.

Apple doesn’t collect a lot of customer data from its services, including Apple Maps, the Siri voice assistant and its paid video-streaming service, according to more than a dozen former employees. And the customer data it does collect from products like the App Store and Apple Music aren’t widely accessible to employees who work on those and other products, these people said. That makes it difficult for Apple to mimic popular features developed by its competitors, which collect more data and have fewer restrictions on employee access to such information, they said.

Look at Apple TV+. The paid video-streaming service, unlike its bigger rivals, doesn’t collect demographic info about customers or a history of what they have watched, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation at Apple. That means Apple TV+ employees can’t analyze how customers move from one piece of content to another, making it next to impossible to recommend more videos to them based on their preferences—a contrast to Netflix, Disney and other streaming services, which use such data to get customers to watch more videos.

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