Apple’s iOS has maintained a dominant track record in security, but Google’s Android may just be catching up.
The rise of cybercrime and identity theft has seen Android’s new operating system incorporate several security-conscious measures, including granular controls on application access and additional permissions to bolster security. With the update of both Android 10 and iOS 13, we can get a better picture of where Android is heading and how they might compare with iOS’ stringent measures. Here’s a comparison of the two operating systems’ key features.
When it comes to implementing security updates, Apple is renowned for its automation, allowing you to seamlessly update in the background both quickly and efficiently. Apple can perfect its update methods because it holds ultimate control over the manufacturing chain and coding. Of course, many believe this strengthens security to the detriment of customization. Nevertheless, Apple ensures that malware and damaging software are consistently kept at bay.
Android has always been more vulnerable owing to its manual updating methods. However, in May, Google announced that Android security updates would finally become automated. Previously, Android received updates regularly but the owner had to manually implement them and reset their device. Android, however, has additional issues in the number of customized versions of their operating system and carrier networks which receive their sporadic updates, and the numbers of reported malware on the Google Store. Right now, Apple has the edge, but it’s clear Android is making changes.
Geotraking allows you to determine a location from data, often through shared photos on social media. Both new operating systems have additional location-blocking features. In particular, Apple has given users the option of removing data from photographs, meaning that a photograph no longer leaves a trail of data documenting where and when it was taken. This feature needs to be manually selected under the Options tab in Photos.
Similarly, Android already has location stripping in its Photos app. But Android is making greater conditional leaps here too, with Android 10 offering fine-tuned geolocation control by denying permission for certain app access, allowing complete access or allowing access only when the app is open.
When you download an app, it often makes authorization demands before use. This includes everything from access to phone contacts to GPS. This can seem problematic if such data was misused, stolen or sold.
Apple addresses permissions with its new security update, including allowing users to log-in to most apps with their standard Apple ID rather than a social media account (like Facebook) or e-mail contact address. This blocks app access to valuable private information.
Whilst this is a great step, Android 10 have taken things further. Android also has app access restrictions that monitor permissions and allow you to block them in your phone’s Settings tab. However, they also have advanced options like autofill permissions which can be fully controlled. This goes further in offering you mastery over what is and isn’t allowed to be accessed by apps.
After Wi-Fi has been disconnected, apps can still connect to sister programs by “sniffing” out Bluetooth signals. This runs the risk of revealing location information and leaking it out. What’s more, Bluetooth has proven to leave devices vulnerable to malware attacks. Luckily, both Android 10 and iOS 13 have taken steps to deny apps’ permission to do this.
Both Android 10 and iOS 13 have made prescient steps in protecting personal data and tightening security. Apple still has the best fortifications, but Android is catching up. Both have evolved to match the digital threats and requirements which face us today.