Mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives. Especially after the introduction of smartphones, and the availability of high-speed wireless internet in the form of 4g and 5g. They have become our companions and best friends. Today, we rely on our mobile devices for most of our day to day activities, be it work-related emails and messages, keeping in touch with our near and dear ones via social media apps, or playing online games on websites like ComeOn. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that we share more time and thoughts online, then with our families.
In such a scenario, it is important to ensure that our online activities are kept private and secure. With all the recent debates about online privacy, data sharing, and data theft, let’s try to look at which mobile operating system currently used offers the best privacy.
Android vs iOS
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The current mobile device market is dominated by two operating systems, namely Android from Google, and iOS by Apple. About 99% of mobile devices in the world currently use either of these two systems. Android’s share is close to 73%, while iOS is used in about 26% of the devices. The rest of the devices use other systems like KaiOS or Windows operating system.
While Android prides itself in being the most widely used OS, it is an open-source program, meaning that hardware manufacturers can install the OS in their devices by paying a fee to Google and can modify the look and feel of the system to suit their individual needs. While this provides a more personalized experience, with room for more customization, it leaves the system vulnerable to malware.
Google Play Store is also much easier for developers to get their apps into, with comparatively much less scrutiny and security. This has led to many malicious apps being downloaded in the past and has been the cause of the theft of the personal information of users.
Google requires user data to be sent to its servers so that the company can build up a user profile, which can be used to share with third parties for targeted advertising.
Apple, on the other hand, has been quite vocal about privacy, and stores more data locally on the phone, rather than sending it to it’s servers. Being a closed system, the company has better control over what apps are available on its App Store and has many checks to prevent malware apps on its store.
One major drawback of using an Android OS is that there is no guarantee about the security patches or system updates that a user may receive. It depends on when the phone manufacturers and carriers roll out the updates, and most of them have been notoriously slow and irregular in this regard. If lucky, users may get 3 system updates.
Apple on the other hand releases regular updates and ensures that all the devices receive the updates. There have been instances, like in the case of iPhone 5s, that users have got 6 system updates before being cut-off. This means that iOS users are more likely to get the latest security features on their phones and give them better protection from nefarious apps.
Lesser used operating systems
Graphene OS and Windows OS, although good, are used on a very less number of devices, when viewed from a global perspective. This makes them relatively safer, as hackers are less likely to target them, given the small number of users.
While it is clear that out of the two widely used operating systems, iOS is better equipped to protect your privacy, there is only so much that an OS can do to secure your data. Third-party apps like Facebook or phishing attacks via e-mail or messages can also make you vulnerable to hackers.
It is advisable for users to share as little personal and financial data online as possible, and use two-step verification for their financial transactions to provide an additional layer of security.