Apple device owners who participated in a hearing study that Apple is conducting with the University of Michigan School of Public Health are being sent emails informing them that a bug in the study resulted in excess data collection.
Participants in the study had agreed to allow Apple and researchers to collect headphone sound level, environmental sound level, heart rate, and workout data types. The data collection is used to help researchers better understand the link between long-term sound exposure and the impact on hearing health.
The email tells participants that a bug in the study resulted in up to 30 days worth of historical data being collected. While the data collection only includes what was consented to when the participants signed up, the collection of historical data was not mentioned on the sign-up form.
The email reads as follows:
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.
The bug has been fixed with an update to the Apple Research app and the historical data received has been deleted. Study participants should update their Apple Research apps to ensure no further historical data collection takes place.