There is a lot of discussion about whether iOS or Android offers the most secure smartphone or tablet in the market. In all of our conversations with security experts, the vast majority, if not all, feel that Apple’s iOS is intrinsically more safe than Google’s Android. This recent post outlines a variety of advantages iOS has over Android regarding privacy, including Apple’s new feature that allows users to disable app tracking. Google and Apple are nearly on opposing ends when it comes to privacy. Recent research, however, challenges this notion; a study from research firm Media drew our eye.
The most important conclusion is that the Google Pixel 6, which runs Android 12, is substantially safer than the Apple iPhone 12 Pro, which runs iOS 15. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Xiaomi Mi 11 5G are two more Android-based phones that have been compared. The research gave each of them a score based on nine separate parameters, ranked in order of priority. The Google Pixel 6 scored a perfect of 5.4, while Apple came in fourth with a score of 4.03. Due to the apparent Pixel 6’s ideal score. We felt it is worth delving into this study and understanding the parameters because we have always considered Apple superior security.
One intriguing note is that while I had previously focused on iOS vs Android software, this study examined both software and hardware at the device level. After researching, we found several things that need attention before believing the report. So, we decided to share our findings with you as well. You can also read these iPhone security tips and tricks. Let’s begin:
Google Sponsored the Event
Seems biased, no?
The report’s most dubious aspect is that Google, the Pixel phone’s producer, was the sponsor of the research project in which it received a perfect score. We won’t usually question the ratings. But when research is clearly implying that the Google Pixel 6 is a secure gadget, it is simply not true since any phone can be hacked. Google has been delivering security updates for the phone, implying at least a few vulnerabilities. While not all financed research is terrible, it makes one question when combined with a flawless ranking.
Who Rated and How
Consumers are asked to rank the relevance of the nine security aspects to evaluate the security standards. While the data does not state it, I presume the 1,520 participants could choose their favourite three choices. Because the overall percentage is 300 per cent. This is, in our opinion, a poor method because the typical end-user would not be a security specialist. This is equivalent to asking a random guy on the street what an aeroplane’s most critical security features are. They might fly frequently, but having the expertise to rate the security is highly improbable. If a panel of security experts had been used for the survey, we would have believed the results.
The Rating Itself
This was also incorrect because the scoring in each section was based on the number of features rather than assessing the complete category. It considered “checkboxes” against how well they performed, which is an intelligent way to think about it. It is not the most efficient way to rate. Here are the reasons:
- Users rated identity protection as the most important feature, yet the approach was flawed. As it was linked to one’s Gmail account, Google received the highest grade as it had the maximum identity alternatives. You can choose from OTP (one-time passwords), FIDO authentication, push alerts, and other options, but Apple only offers two-factor authentication. Hence Google received the top score. What is not mentioned is that Apple iCloud is the market’s largest and most successful deployment of two-factor security. More is not necessarily better when it comes to identity. When customers have numerous devices, Apple performs fascinating things, such as alerting you if you are logged into your Mac in Texas while your smartphone has just been verified in Ukraine.
- When it comes to security upgrades, the study took an unusual method. The length of time the vendor commits to releasing security updates is one of the criteria. It offers the Google Pixel 6 a top score since it promises a five-year security patch period, the most of any vendor examined. It gives Apple a poor score since it does not specify how long the support term is but then claims that Apple gadgets are typically supported for five to six years. It also commends Google for allowing upgrades through the Google Play store and refers to Apple’s methods as “monolithic” without elaborating. Apple has a demonstrated track history of releasing software upgrades to over a million devices in only a few weeks when needed, and we think that’s essential.
- The irony that Apple received a lower grade than the three Android smartphones got me laughing aloud. According to the survey, Google, Samsung, and Xiaomi have built-in anti-malware technologies to guard and identify harmful software, whereas Apple does not. Because Apple provides App Store and protects the environment, while Google does not, Apple does not offer on-device anti-malware. Furthermore, to the dismay of many users, Apple doesn’t really allow the software to be side-loaded. Thus there could be no “back-door” spyware. According to Panda Security, Android devices are accountable for 47 per cent of all malware detected, opposed to less than 1% for iPhones. This creates a negative spiral; cyber attackers will frequently target Android devices first since they are easier to compromise.
- Both iPhone and Google Pixel receive high grades in the assessment for providing a web-based tool and a smartphone app that can locate, alarm, lock, and delete the phone if it is stolen or lost. What’s left out was that the iPhone can find powered off devices, while the Pixel needs to be turned on and linked to Wi-Fi or cellular.
- Another category where Google and Apple both received ideal scores, but they would not have been placed as highly if efficiency was considered instead of just possessing the function. Face ID on the iPhone 13 has a FAR (false acceptance rate) of one in a million, whereas the Pixel 6 has a FAR of one in 50K. Plus, there are many Pixel 6’s slow fingerprint scanner incidents.
And so, the clear winner should have been the iPhone and not Google. We can go on and on with more mobile security features, but we believe these will be enough for you to decide between the two and judge correctly.