No matter the type of wearable device you use or how often you use it, every smartwatch, fitness tracker or VR headset owner has one thing in common. As you got the device out of the box and downloaded the app and set everything up, you probably hit 'next', 'next', 'next' and 'Agree' to anything that was presented to you - including the terms and conditions and privacy policies.
Because let's face it, if you found something you didn't like or didn't understand, were you really going to pack up your new toy and send it back? Unlikely.
But as we're dealing with health information and location data – that wearable tech is often criticised for being a sinkhole of personal privacy – we trawled the terms and conditions and privacy policies for the bestselling wearable tech kit.
Below is the important information you need to know – but to generalise – few companies stand by their device's stats for fear of being sued. And the health and fitness companies are very clear that these are not medical devices.
The rest is a confusing ramble through each company's approach to personal, anonymous, aggregated and combined data and safe use.
If you don't see your wearable listed, let us know in the comments as we will be adding companies to the list. Another note: we've added the dates, where provided, of the policies and these might be updated in the future plus there might be some variation from country to country. Most of the policies referred to are US or UK.
Fitbit in brief
- Fitbits are not medical devices and you should consult your doctor before you start using one
- PurePulse heart rate tracking may cause problems if you have an existing heart condition
- Fitbit uses anonymous data about non paying users in its Premium services
- It sells de-identified data
- You can use Fitbit if you're over 13
- If you get a skin reaction, keep the band clean, dry, loose and give your wrist a break. After 2-3 days, tell your doctor.
Fitbit Terms and Conditions highlights
"The accuracy of the data collected and presented through the Fitbit Service is not intended to match that of medical devices or scientific measurement devices."
"The Fitbit Service is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have a medical or heart condition, consult your doctor before using the Fitbit Service, engaging in an exercise program or changing your diet."
"Prolonged contact with wearable devices may contribute to skin irritation or allergies in some users. To reduce irritation, follow four simple wear and care tips: (1) Keep it clean; (2) keep it dry; (3) don't wear it too tight, and (4) give your wrist a rest by removing the band for an hour after extended wear. For more information visit www.fitbit.com/productcare. If you notice any skin irritation, remove your device. If symptoms persist longer than 2-3 days after removing the device, consult your doctor."
"Fitbit products using PurePulse™ technology have a heart rate tracking feature that may pose risks to users with certain health conditions. Consult your doctor prior to use if you (1) have a medical or heart condition, (2) are taking any photosensitive medicine, (3) have epilepsy or are sensitive to flashing lights, (4) have reduced circulation or bruise easily, or (5) have tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or other musculoskeletal disorders. If you feel soreness, tingling, numbness, burning or stiffness in your hands or wrists while or after wearing the product, please discontinue use."
Fitbit Terms and Conditions (22 October 2015)
"De-identified data that does not identify you may be used to inform the health community about trends; for marketing and promotional use; or for sale to interested audiences."
"Fitbit may share or sell aggregated, de-identified data that does not identify you with partners and the public in a variety of ways, such as by providing research or reports about health and fitness or in services provided under our Premium membership. When we provide this information, we take legal and technical measures to ensure that the data does not identify you and cannot be associated back to you."
Apple Watch terms in brief
- Apple advises to keep the Watch at least 10mm away from your head to limit radio frequency (RF) exposure
- Be careful when driving or riding a bike and using the Watch
- The Apple Watch isn't a medical device and you should tell your doctor before starting a fitness program with it
- If you suffer skin irritation while wearing the watch, it might be allergies, soap, sweat or a nickel-related reaction
- Apple does not guarantee that its location data is accurate, recommending that you pay attention to road signs - or any other services
- Sharing or syncing photos with your Apple Watch could mean photo location data is also shared
- Apple can limit your use of the Watch without notifying you
- Apple isn't liable for any financial problems via Apple Pay - talk to your bank or card issuer
- Apple shares your personal data with its "affiliates" and combines it with other information that it obtained about you
- It can share de-identified data for any purpose
- You can update/remove your information via Apple ID or use the Privacy Contact Form.
Apple watchOS2 Terms and Conditions highlights
"Using Apple Watch in some circumstances can distract you and may cause a dangerous situation (for example, avoid typing text messages while driving a car or using headphones while riding a bicycle). By using Apple Watch you agree that you are responsible for observing rules that prohibit or restrict the use of mobile phones or headphones (for example, the requirement to use hands-free options for making calls when driving)."
"Apple Watch, the heart rate sensor and its data and included Apple Watch apps are not medical devices and are intended for fitness purposes only. They are not designed or intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease."
"Before starting or modifying any exercise program using Apple Watch, consult your physician. Be careful and attentive while exercising. Stop exercising immediately if you feel pain, or feel faint, dizzy, exhausted, or short of breath. By exercising, you assume inherent risks including any injury that may result from such activity. If you have any medical condition that you believe could be affected by Apple Watch (for example, seizures, blackouts, eyestrain, or headaches), consult with your physician prior to using Apple Watch."
"Sharing or syncing photos through your Apple Watch may cause metadata, including photo location data, to be transmitted with the photos."
"Neither Apple nor any of its content providers guarantees the availability, accuracy, completeness, reliability, or timeliness of stock information, location data or any other data displayed by any Services."
"Location data provided by any Services, including the Apple Maps service, is provided for basic navigational and/or planning purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon in situations where precise location information is needed or where erroneous, inaccurate, time-delayed or incomplete location data may lead to death, personal injury, property or environmental damage. You agree that, the results you receive from the Maps service may vary from actual road or terrain conditions due to factors that can affect the accuracy of the Maps data, such as, but not limited to, weather, road and traffic conditions, and geopolitical events. For your safety when using the navigation feature, always pay attention to posted road signs and current road conditions. Follow safe driving practices and traffic regulations, and note that walking directions may not include sidewalks or pedestrian paths."
"Apple may also impose limits on the use of or access to certain Services, in any case and without notice or liability."
"Nor is Apple responsible for the content, accuracy or unavailability of any payment cards, rewards cards, stored value cards, commerce activities, transactions or purchases while using Apple Pay functionality, nor is Apple in any way involved in the issuance of credit or assessing eligibility for credit, or the accrual or redemption of rewards under a merchant's rewards program."
Wearing Apple Watch support highlights
"We also collect data in a form that does not, on its own, permit direct association with any specific individual. We may collect, use, transfer, and disclose non-personal information for any purpose. "
"We may collect information such as occupation, language, zip code, area code, unique device identifier, referrer URL, location, and the time zone where an Apple product is used so that we can better understand customer behavior and improve our products, services, and advertising."
"We may collect and store details of how you use our services, including search queries. This information may be used to improve the relevancy of results provided by our services. Except in limited instances to ensure quality of our services over the Internet, such information will not be associated with your IP address."
Oculus Rift terms in brief
- Oculus can do anything it likes with content you create with the Rift including licensing it to other companies
- The Rift is not for under 13s
- Oculus can disable your access if you violate the terms and conditions
- Content will vary between countries
- No refunds for in-game virtual items or currencies
- Oculus collects data on game purchases, IP address, location information and your physical movements and dimensions when you use the headset
- Oculus can combine your personally identifiable Facebook data with your personally identifiable Oculus data
- Oculus uses data collected about you to market to you, improve services and share with other companies in the same group (including Facebook)
- It can share de-identified info for any purpose
- Other companies may collect data on you through Oculus services, to market to you on or off Oculus
- To ask question, deactivate or delete your account, email: [email protected]
Oculus Terms of Service (28 March 2016)
"Information Automatically Collected About You When You Use Our Services. We also collect information automatically when you use our Services. Depending on how you access and use our Services, we may collect information such as:
- Information about your interactions with our Services, like information about the games, content, apps or other experiences you interact with, and information collected in or through cookies, local storage, pixels, and similar technologies (additional information about these technologies is available at https://www.oculus.com/en-us/cookies-pixels-and-other-technologies/);
- Information about how you access our Services, including information about the type of device you're using (such as a headset, PC, or mobile device), your browser or operating system, your Internet Protocol ("IP") address, and certain device identifiers that may be unique to your device;
- Information about the games, content, or other apps installed on your device or provided through our Services, including from third parties;
- Location information, which can be derived from information such as your device's IP address. If you're using a mobile device, we may collect information about the device's precise location, which is derived from sources such as the device's GPS signal and information about nearby WiFi networks and cell towers; and
- Information about your physical movements and dimensions when you use a virtual reality headset."
"We may receive information about you from other companies that are within the family of related companies that are legally part of the same group of companies that Oculus is part of, or that become part of that group, such as Facebook, and may combine that information with other information we collect about you. View a complete list of related companies at https://www.oculus.com/en-us/related-companies/."
"We may share information within the family of related companies that are legally part of the same group of companies that Oculus is part of, or that become part of that group, such as Facebook. For a list of our related companies, please see https://www.oculus.com/en-us/related-companies/."
"We may also share de-identified or aggregate data with others for any purpose. De-identified data means information where we have removed your name or contact information. Aggregate data is data that has been combined with other data so that it doesn't identify any specific person."
Xiaomi Mi Band
Xiaomi terms in brief
- Any disputes with Xiaomi will be dealt with in Chinese courts
- Xiaomi is committed to upholding privacy laws including in your country
- Don't use your Xiaomi devices in your car
- Xiaomi does not guarantee the reliability/specific functions/ability to meet your needs of its products
- Your personal data is held in Beijing, Singapore and the US
- Xiaomi doesn't clarify what happens to personal information if there's a merger/sale just that you will be notified
- It shares de-identified data
- You can request to remove your personal data here.
Mi Terms and Conditions
"The laws of the People's Republic of China will apply to any disputes arising out of or relating to these terms or the Services. All claims arising out of or relating to these terms or the Services will be litigated exclusively in the courts of the People's Republic of China, and you and Xiaomi consent to personal jurisdiction in those courts."
"Do not use our Services in a way that prevents you from obeying traffic safety laws."
"Other than as expressly set out in these terms or additional terms, neither Xiaomi nor its suppliers or distributors make any specific promises about the services. For example, we don't make any commitments about the content within the services, the specific functions of the services, or their reliability, availability, or ability to meet your needs. We provide the services "as is"."
Mi Terms and Conditions (not dated)
"We are committed to protecting the privacy, confidentiality and security of your personal information by complying with applicable laws, including your local data protection legislation.
We do not sell any personal information to third parties."
"We may disclose your personal information on occasion to third parties (as described below) in order to provide the products or services that you have requested."
"If Xiaomi is involved in a merger, acquisition or asset sale of all or a portion of our assets, you will be notified via email and/or a prominent notice on our website, of any changes in ownership, uses of your personal information, and choices you may have regarding your personal information."
Garmin terms in brief
- Garmin warns against taking advice from other Garmin Connect users
- Garmin does not guarantee the accuracy/reliability of its services
- Be careful who you share your location data with
- You can ask for your personal data to be edited or removed
- Garmin shares your personal information with affiliates (listed here).
- It works in accordance with the data protection and privacy laws of the US, not the country you live in.
- You can request that your data is corrected or deleted by emailing: [email protected]
"We are not responsible for, and we do not endorse, the opinions, advice, or recommendations posted or sent by users in any Public Forum and we specifically disclaim any and all liability in connection therewith."
"Garmin makes no representations or warranties about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the Content or about the results to be obtained from using the Garmin Sites and the Content. Any use of the Garmin Sites and the Content is at your own risk."
"Garmin may use uploaded activity data in an anonymous and aggregated manner that would not personally identify you for purposes of enhancing the quality of its products and applications. If you provide your consent when asked whether you consent to the sharing of anonymous data collected from your device, Garmin may share activity data with strategic partners in an anonymous manner that would not personally identify you for the purpose of enhancing the quality of such strategic partners' products and applications. Garmin will not transfer or sell your activity data to any third party without providing you prior notice and obtaining your consent."
"We may share Personal Information that you provide to Garmin with our affiliates worldwide for the purposes described in this Privacy Statement. You may access a list of our affiliates in our latest Annual Report on Form 10-K, which can be found at www.sec.gov. Our affiliates are required to protect Personal Information about you in a manner consistent with this Privacy Statement."
"If you reside in a country outside the United States, please note that the data protection and privacy laws of the United States may not be as comprehensive as the laws in your country."
"You may request access and request that erroneous or inaccurate Personal Information be updated. You may also request that your Personal Information be deleted."
Jawbone terms in brief
- Jawbone shares anonymised data through its data blog
- It shares your personal data with service providers around the world
- It will share your personal data as part of a business deal or merger or a negotiation of a deal/merger
- It doesn't guarantee the accuracy or fitness for purpose of its UP devices
- You can request for your UP data to be removed in Settings/Accounts/Request Data Removal in the UP app or by emailing [email protected]
- Air traffic controllers should not rely on their UP fitness bands
- Under 18s need a parent's permission to agree to the UP terms.
"YOU EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT USE OF THE UP SERVICE, SOFTWARE, AND DEVICE IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK AND THAT THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO SATISFACTORY QUALITY, PERFORMANCE, ACCURACY AND EFFORT IS WITH YOU."
"When you use or synch your Device, it automatically transmits activity and physical information to us including, but not limited to, detailed physical information based on monitoring your micro movements, including when you are asleep, when you are awake, when you are idle, and your activity intensity and duration. Some Jawbone devices also capture heart rate and other biometric data. This data is translated into information such as your sleep patterns, calories you burn, activities undertaken and your trends and progress. This data can also provide information on certain conditions you may have. Your Device may store up to nine months of data at a time. Your Device and UP App may also transmit precise location data."
"We do not rent, sell or otherwise share your individual personal information with third parties, except as follows:
- With your consent, for example to connect with a third party app or service.
- We use affiliated and unaffiliated service providers all over the world that help us deliver our service and run our business subject to confidentiality agreements. For example, we use third party data analytics platforms to help us understand, among other things, server load and app behavior."
UA terms in brief
- Under Armour can track your location even when its apps aren't running
- It does not guarantee its services are accurate, error free or reliable
- It combines personal data that you share with personal data from third parties but you can opt out of this
- Data from HealthKit will not be used by UA for marketing/advertising or transferred to third parties for marketing/advertising
- The default privacy setting on UA Accounts is "Friends. Share with all my friends."
- The links to contact Under Armour to update or edit your personal data are currently broken
- Don't blame UA if your posts mean you don't get into a club/onto a team
- It advises against choosing the 'Public' setting for a number of reasons
- You can use Under Armour's services if you are over the age of 13
Under Armour Legal Policies
"The UA parties make no warranty that (a) the services will meet your requirements; (b) the services will be uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error-free; (c) the results that may be obtained from the use of the services will be accurate or reliable; (d) the quality of any products, services, information, or other material purchased or obtained by you through the services will meet your expectations; and (e) any errors in the services will be corrected."
"Certain sports organizations have rules on amateurism and eligibility that could potentially be implicated if you post User Content within the Services, even User Content that you believe is noncommercial in nature. It is your responsibility to determine whether posting User Content within the Services will affect your eligibility to participate in any sport under any applicable rules of any sports organization."
"Some unauthenticated Users may have the ability to extract location information from photos or videos that are posted by you with a "Public. Share With Everyone" designation."
"Upon your termination of your Account, you may request that we completely "purge" your Account, including deleting any and all User Content previously submitted. We will undertake commercially reasonable efforts to ensure that your User Content associated with your Account is purged when you terminate your Account, subject to the limitation that we may not be able to fully delete all of your User Content, specifically any User Content posted in our community groups, or on other User pages. In addition, we cannot wholly purge health index-related User Content upon the deletion of a User Account. We will, however, remove individually identifiable information upon the termination of your Account."
"The collection and tracking of your location information may occur even when our Services, including any mobile application, are not actively open and running. Your location information, however, is only displayed and shared in accordance with your established privacy settings."
"We may combine the personal information and/or the location information that you provide via your Account with information from other Services or third parties in order to enhance your experience and/or to improve the overall quality of the Services. For certain Services, we may give you an opportunity to opt out of the combination of such information."
"If you have created an Account with us, we may obtain certain demographic information about you from reputable third party sources to help us improve our communication with you and improve our business overall."
"To better serve you and improve the Services, we may conduct research on demographics, interests, and behavior based on personal information and other information provided via the Services. This research may be compiled and analyzed on an aggregate basis, and we may share this aggregated information with our affiliates, agents, and business partners. This aggregate information does not identify you personally. We may also disclose aggregated information in order to describe our services to current and prospective business partners and to other third parties for other lawful purposes."
"The default UA Account privacy setting is "Friends. Share With All My Friends." The "Friends. Share With All My Friends" privacy setting limits access to your online disclosures. While you maintain a "Friends. Share With All My Friends" privacy setting, only certain personal information—specifically, your username, first name, and first initial of your last name, and any profile picture associated with you—that you disclose and/or transmit to us via the Websites and/or Mobile Applications is disclosed or accessible to the public. All other personal information, location information, and activity data that you disclose and/or transmit is only disclosed to and accessible by us and those persons who you have designated as "Friends."
"While you maintain a "Private. Do Not Share" privacy setting, no personal information, location information, or activity data that you disclose and/or transmit to us is disclosed to or accessible by your Friends or the public. It is only disclosed to and accessible by us."
"If Under Armour and/or MapMyFitness is acquired by or merged with or into another entity, or if our assets or business is sold or transferred to another entity, your personal information may be transferred to such entity as part of the transaction, and that entity and its affiliates may use your personal information under the terms of their own privacy policies which may differ from this Privacy Statement."
Pebble terms in brief
- Pebble does not guarantee the accuracy of its services or the security of your data
- It collects and uses some personal data for troubleshooting and improving its software
- It collects precise geolocation data
- It combines data collected about you from third parties with data you choose to share
- You can disable analytics on the smartwatch if you don't want personalised features
- It gives Nuance access to anonymous voice recordings to improve the voice recognition
- You can turn off all collection of health, fitness and sleep data in Settings
- Under 13s need a parent's permission to agree to the Terms
"The service, and all information, content, and materials related to the foregoing, are provided "as is." except as expressly stated in this agreement, we disclaim all warranties, express or implied, including, but not limited to, any warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title, non-infringement, non-interference, system integration and accuracy of data. We do not warrant that use of the service will be uninterrupted, error-free or virus free. Although information that you submit may be password protected, we do not guarantee the security of any information transmitted to or from the service and you agree to assume the security risk for any information you provide through the service."
"Through your account settings, you can turn off personalized insights or the collection and use of all health, sleep, and fitness data by Pebble."
"We may also maintain limited audio recordings and recognized text (disassociated with your name or other unique identifier) to evaluate the effectiveness of and improve the service. We use a third-party speech recognition voice service provider to assist in providing this service to you. By contract we only allow the service provider to use the information collected to perform the services on our behalf and for some limited internal uses to improve the voice recognition services."
"We may obtain additional information about you from third parties such as marketers, partners, researchers, and others. We may combine information that we collect from or about you with information we obtain about you from such third parties and affiliates and information derived from any other subscription, product, or service we provide."
"When you use a Smartwatch and our mobile apps, we collect certain analytics information about your use of these services (such as features and third-party apps used, log files, buttons pressed, and support requests and results). We collect and use most of this information solely in anonymous and aggregate form, but maintain log files in identifiable form for a period of time for troubleshooting and other purposes. This information helps us improve our products and services, troubleshoot bugs, and analyze device errors. Within your settings for the Smartwatch app, you may elect to disable analytics on your Smartwatch."
"As we continue to develop our business, we may sell, buy, merge or partner with other companies or businesses, or sell some or all of our assets. In such transactions, user information may be among the transferred assets."
Google and Android Wear
Google terms in brief
- Google Fit/Android Wear watches are not medical devices and doesn't have the same security level as health insurance services
- When you begin using Android Wear, you can opt in or out of letting Google Fit use and store sensor data and connecting to Wear Cloud Sync
- You can delete all your Google Fit data by removing the apps and then using the Delete History feature on the website
- Google will serve you tailored ads based on your personal data
- It combines personal data on you from different Google services
- It shares non identifiable data with partners, publishers and advertisers
"Sensitive personal information: This is a particular category of personal information relating to confidential medical facts, racial or ethnic origins, political or religious beliefs or sexuality."
"We use the information we collect from all of our services to provide, maintain, protect and improve them, to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users. We also use this information to offer you tailored content – like giving you more relevant search results and ads."
"We may combine personal information from one service with information, including personal information, from other Google services – for example to make it easier to share things with people you know."
"We may share non-personally identifiable information publicly and with our partners – like publishers, advertisers or connected sites. For example, we may share information publicly to show trends about the general use of our services."
"Please keep your eyes on the road and obey applicable laws. Do not manipulate this application while in motion. Directions may be inaccurate, incomplete, dangerous, not suitable, or prohibited. Data is not real-time, and location accuracy cannot be guaranteed."
"Google will determine and use your location, photos and videos taken on your Device will be added to your Google+ Auto Backup album, and your Device will display information sent to devices that are synced with it (such as text messages)."
"By participating, you acknowledge that implementation of some Glass features and services are still under development and that you should not rely on the Device, software, or Glass services having the full functionality of a consumer release."
Samsung terms in brief
- There are a whole bunch of people who either shouldn't use a Samsung Gear VR or who should check with their doctor first
- Samsung's health and fitness wearables are for "recreational" purposes only and should not be used for medical purposes
- Samsung does not guarantee the accuracy of its health and fitness software
- It is not liable for any problems from its products being inaccurate or faulty
- It combines personal data which you choose to share with other information from third parties but you can opt out of this
- You can opt out from your data being used for marketing (most of the time)
- It shares personal data with affiliates, business partners and service providers
Samsung Gear/Gear Fit End User License Agreement
"The Wearable Device and the Fit Software are intended for recreational purpose only, and is not intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease or any other medical purposes. Certain data derived from Fit Software is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be treated as medical advice nor replace the relationship between you and your physicians or other medical provider."
"Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have learned through the Fit Software."
"Samsung is not liable for any injuries, damages, losses and/or costs suffered by users that are associated with the services and/or information, including recommendations, coaching, tips and/or guidelines, nor for the accuracy of any information provided or acquired by or accessed through Fit Software."
'Samsung will not be liable for any damages of any kind arising out of or relating to the use or inability to use the software, its content or functionality, including, but not limited to, damages caused by or related to errors, omissions, interruptions, defects, delays in operation or transmission, computer virus, failure to connect, network charges and all other direct, indirect, special, incidental, exemplary or consequential damages.."
Samsung Gear/Gear Fit End ULA (10 January 2015)
Samsung Gear VR manual
"Not for use by children under 13. Watching videos or playing games with the Gear VR may affect the visual development of children. When children, age 13 or older, use the Gear VR, adults should limit their usage time and ensure they take frequent breaks. Adults should monitor children closely after using the Gear VR if children feel discomfort."
"We recommend consulting with a doctor before using the Gear VR if you are pregnant, elderly, have psychiatric disorders, suffer from a heart condition or other serious condition, have pre-existing binocular vision abnormalities."
"Do not use the Gear VR if you have symptoms of squint, amblyopia or anisometropia. Using the Gear VR may aggravate these symptoms."
"Do not use the Gear VR when the attached mobile device is hot as this may cause burns."
Samsung Gear VR manual (undated)
"When you provide us with information about yourself, you will usually be given the option to let us know that you do not want that information to be used for direct marketing purposes whether by ourselves or by any third party (including our commercial partners). We will only use that information for the purpose of direct marketing in accordance with your preferences (or where we are otherwise permitted to do so by law)."
"We will not disclose your information to third parties for their own independent marketing or business purposes without your consent. However, we may disclose your information to the following entities:
- Affiliates Your information may be shared among Samsung Affiliates.
- Business Partners We also may share your information with trusted business partners, including wireless carriers. These entities may use your information to provide you with services you request (e.g., video content provided by Netflix through SmartTV), make predictions about your interests and may provide you with promotional materials, advertisements and other materials.
- Service providers We also may disclose your information to companies that provide services for or on behalf of us, such as companies that help us with billing or that send emails on our behalf. These entities are limited in their ability to use your information for purposes other than providing services for us."
Additional research by Rob Cappellina.