If you ask this question on a smartphone forum, rest assured, you thread will run into at least a thousand replies but then result will always be inconclusive. The fact remains that at cyber criminals develop an Android malware every 17 seconds and it is plagued with other security flaws making it vulnerable to hackers.
Many users swear by iPhones with regards to security and privacy. Not that they are alone, many security experts will vouch for Apple’s devices saying that they more secure and reliable in the context of data protection and spying evasion than the Android or Windows operating systems. In fact, it is being stated that out of the three main operating systems, it the Apple’s iPhone that is highly reliable due to the much talked about “Erase Data” feature.
Erase Data feature in iPhone wipes the data after ten failed passcode entry attempts. This security feature is so unique that it distinguishes Apple’s iPhones from all other available smartphones in the market.
The Apple fanboys put forward a relevant fact to validate their point of view. Earlier in the week, FBI got an US court to order Apple to unlock the iPhone belonging to San Bernardino shooter. The FBI wanted to check Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone to get information about his alleged actions and activities, which prompted the mass killings in December. Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik went on a mass shooting spree in 2015 and both were killed soon after.
Apple lovers say that due to iPhone’s strong encryption abilities and data protection features FBI had to approach the court. If it had been an Android smartphone, FBI would have cracked it easily and the issue would not have snowballed into a Apple vs Court slugfest as it has happened now.
However there is a twist to the Android vs iPhone saga. New survey conducted by OnePulse, a London startup among iPhone users reveals that almost half of them think Android phones are “more advanced” than iPhones.
OnePulse surveyed 1,500 iPhone and Android users via its app to find a sensible answer for this age old chicken vs egg query. Overall, including iPhone and Android users, 40 percent of those surveyed said Android was more advanced than iPhone.
“We put Android and iPhone users against each other in our poll to understand what they think is better, despite what phone they actually own,” said OnePulse brand manager Meagan Healey. “The insights were surprising as there seemed to be no hostility from either sets of users.”
The results are surprising considering the iPhone’s popularity. Apple sold 74.78 million iPhones, first quarter 2016 results showed, the most it ever has sold in a quarter. iPhone is ranked as the No. 1 gadget brand on Facebook, with more than 400 million people expressing an interest. Cannacord research found that, owing to Apple’s high profit margins, the iPhone accounted for 92 percent of smartphone profits in the first quarter of 2015.
While the issue cannot be solved on a stroke of pen or with this article, the Windows Phone is slowly stealing the march of both, Android and iPhone as far as security is concerned. Many security experts swear by the Windows run smartphones to be best among all in terms of security and privacy, though they have hugely unsuccessful among smartphone buyers.
Security and privacy league have other candidates like Blackphone, BlackBerry etc. but some experts from big antivirus firms feel that the ‘Erase Data Feature’ gives iPhones an edge over other smartphones. According to Avast Director of Threat Intelligence, Filip Chytry, the Erase Data Feature can be added to added to Windows and Android devices also. But, the issue is that it is complicated and designed for system admins, not normal users. Chytri explained that on an Android smartphone, you need to have “device administrator permission,” whereas the users are required to get an especial app and follow some additional steps. Generally, users aren’t familiar with such intricate procedures. Chytri added that Windows phone users also need to download special software.
Trend Micro’s global threat communications manager Christopher Budd echoes Chytri’s opinion and says that Apple is currently leading the game as far as encryption capabilities are concerned.
Apple enabled default encryption on its iPhones since the 3Gs while Android started offering this facility only recently whereas Windows phones still lag behind in this regard, informs Chytri. In Android 6.0 Marshmallow, full disk encryption has been made mandatory but older Android smartphones still dont have this facility.
All in all, both smartphones have a different niche to cater too, but security wise, iPhone leads the pack with its Erase Data Feature and end-to-end encryption.