Telemetry is an automated process that collects data from one device and transmits it to another for monitoring and analysis. Telemetry is widely used in the scientific and medical fields to gather data from remote or wireless sensors. In IT and software development, it refers to data gathered by applications and transmitted from one computer to another to monitor performance, diagnose problems, and provide development feedback.

There are several reasons for software developers to gather telemetry data. Many applications and operating systems collect diagnostic data like log files and crash reports. This data helps developers fix problems by providing specific and accurate information automatically instead of waiting for affected users to reach out. Developers may also gather data to help improve the usability of their software. By gathering statistical information about how users interact with their applications, developers can make informed decisions about what features to prioritize. They can also compile information about users and their platforms, like what operating system they use, their screen size and resolution, and the amount of storage and memory available.

Diagnostic telemetry settings in Windows 10
Diagnostic telemetry settings in Windows 10

The collection of telemetry data does involve some privacy concerns. Telemetry may gather some of your personal data, including your geographic location or what websites you visit. For the sake of user privacy, telemetry gathering should be an opt-in setting configured during installation or when the application is first run.

Updated May 23, 2023 by Brian P.

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