If you compare the latest models of Android and iOS, such as Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone X, there’s not much to choose from anymore. Both of these gigantic mobile phone companies offer the same apps with almost the same approaches to quick settings and notifications. Even the appearance looks identical; you can easily confuse one with the other.
Because of so many identical features that they borrowed from one another, you might think that choosing iOS over Android (or vice versa) does not seem to matter anymore. After all, why bother when they almost have the same features?
This may seem rational, but if you take a closer look there are three main ways where the mobile platform of Apple is different from Google. Let’s take a look at these factors and see why your choice of smartphone OS is still important.
A lot of data that are sent to Apple are made anonymous and aggregated, including map locations and search queries. Your anonymity is not applicable to all of their apps and features though. For example, if you want to use “Find My iPhone”, Apple would require you to enter your details such as your name and phone location so that it can help you reunited with your phone.
This is called “differential privacy” where Apple scrambles all the data collected so that it can’t personally identify a person. According to Apple, this means “we see general patterns, rather than specifics that could be traced back to you.”
Google, on the other hand, wants to gather as much personal information as possible to create much more personal services. You can learn more about Google’s Privacy here.
Though Google collects as much data that can be linked to you personally, they claim that these data are used responsibly and only in a helpful way. According to Google, “We collect information to provide better services to all of our users—from figuring out basic stuff like which language you speak, to more complex things like which ads you’ll find most useful, the people who matter most to you online, or which YouTube videos you might like”. In other words, Google needs to get to know you better so that they can provide a more personal service or help generate more relevant results if you use Google search. It’s up to you if you want to trade off your privacy over more personalized service.
Apple has a firmer stand for user privacy while Google promises to handle your data responsibly. The decision boils down on how much trust you have for these giant tech companies.
Apple really wants its users to use Apple software and hardware and nothing else – as evident to its latest product which is the HomePod. This Siri-powered smart speaker offers no support to Android or Spotify (unless you use Airplay). If you don’t like variations or choices, iOS is fantastic for you.
Rather than specifically focusing on iOS and Android, let’s take a look at the whole ecosystem. Once you’ve started investing in Apple devices, such as Apple TVs, HomePods and iCloud, you would be having a hard time getting out. Google on the other hand, enables you to easily jump between platforms, whether that’s Windows, macOS, iOS, Android or Chrome OS. If you make a switch from Android to iOS with a Google account, you can only get your calendars and emails set up on Android but Apple Photos, iCloud or iTunes are not supported.
Your choice of getting compatible devices actually ends up bigger with iOS as other manufacturers have to offer their support. If you have iOS, you can have beam content to your Apple TV or Chromecast, choose an Android Wear or Apple Watch for your next smartwatch or send audio to an Amazon Echo or HomePod. These devices are not on your options if you go for Android.
If you’re currently on iOS and think that there is a possibility that you change your sides to Android, it’s a smart idea to use Google for your services and apps.
When it comes to security, more favors are stacked heavily in Apple. Android devices don’t only attract more malware but they get through more often. Also, security updates are slower in rolling out.
Though iPhones don’t have invulnerability when it comes to hacking attempts, they are more secured and tightly locked down. Though there are some restrictions with using some apps, the downfall of this limit is outweighed by its benefit of malicious apps not having control over your device so easily.
If you’re using Android and wants maximum security, it’s important that you take extra caution. Stick to the Google Play store and buy from a reputable vendor only.
A little bit of a bad news to Android users though – malware authors are more likely to target the operating system of Google. This is probably because there are more devices to attack, fewer hoops to jump through and more devices are running on an outdated software version. These security vulnerabilities offer so much potential for hackers to target Android.
Android is working on how to improve their security feature. This is evident in a recent update where apps are now scanned automatically from the Play Store appp, with any suspicious activity being flagged and stopped. According to Google, there’s an improvement in lowering the percentage of Android devices that had potentially harmful apps on them. 0.05% may seem to be an improvement from the previous year but this number is still too many.
iOS still remains to be on the lead when it comes to their security feature.
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