Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, so how is one to choose between the two?
If you are looking for a phone that is incredibly stable, reliable and has security that is second to none, then the iPhone is the the obvious choice. However, if you are looking for a phone that is extremely customizable, complete with cutting edge features and functionality, but allows for security risks and may lack stability, then an Android phone may the right fit for you.
How Important is Security to You?
Let’s be honest. We use our phone for everything. Not just for placing phone calls and texting, but browsing the internet, making purchases, and even banking online. If placed in the right hands, one could learn more about you that a close family member knows about you.
Are the Apps Required to be Transparent in What Data They Collect?
The answer to this question is going to be different from app to app. Many companies mine your data so that they can use it for advertising purposes. The more they know about you, the more articulate they can be in targeting advertisements directly at you. HmHmm . . . Facebook. Other companies, (like Signal Messenger who makes the app called, “Signal”), are extremely privacy conscientious and do not collect any data on you. In fact, that’s the point of their company, to allow people to communicate anonymously.
On the Android side, there is very little accountability. Very little. On the IOS side, however, Apple has recently forced companies to divulge exactly what type of data they collect before the app can be installed on your phone. You can “opt out” of allowing companies like Facebook from tracking your activity when you are *not* using their app. At present, Android does not force companies like Facebook to get your permission to track you when you are not using their app.
Is There More Than One Way to Install an App?
An app installed from any other source, [ANY other source], can have hidden malware within it, and they usually do. Not a good idea, regardless of the title of the app. With IOS, there is only one way to install an app. You have to install it from the App Store, unless, of course, you jailbreak your iPhone, in which case, all bets are off.
With Android, you can install an app from anywhere, from reputable and sketchy websites alike. The point is that when an app is installed outside of the Google Play Store, there is no way to guarantee that the app has not been compromised. If you have the ability to install an app outside of a controlled environment, (the App Store for IOS and the Google Play Store for Android), it’s open season.
How Often are Security Updates Made Available?
When a new version of IOS is released, there is an adoption rate of nearly 75% within 6 weeks of the release date. Months, or even years, can go by before the update is available for an Android phone. What does that tell you about security? That is no joke. For example, when a security hole is patched, in Android, that “patch” may not go out for over a year to specific Android users, depending on who their phone service provider is, and depending on the device in question. With iOS, it does not matter how old the phone is, or who your phone provider is, because the update comes directly from Apple, not from your service provider.
If a security hole is found in the version of the Android operating system you are running on your phone, you are completely vulnerable until that update is made available for you phone. To make matters worse, your cell phone provider, (Sprint, for example), may not make the update available, while another cellphone provider, (AT&T for example), does.
How Important is Stability to You?
Security and stability of the platform are integrally related. When we speak of “stability”, we are talking about the stability of the platform itself, and the apps that run on that platform. Quite frankly, when an operating system is released to the public, it has already gone through thousands of hours of testing, by as many users, under countless circumstances.
The real issue lies in the stability of the applications used. Apple tends to be far more strict to ensure that the apps used on its platform are stable. They ensure that . . .
- The application in question does what it says that it will do.
- They test to application to ensure that there is no malicious malware in it.
- They look at the code to ensure that it does not collect any data without the end user’s consent.
Does the Google Play Store do these things? Yes and no. They do to some extent, but are not nearly as strict as Apple is. Additionally, with the Android operating system, you can side-load apps, meaning that you can install apps without going through the Google Play store, which in effect, by-passes all security measures.
How are You to Know if an App is Stable or Not?
Consider what the community as a whole has to say about the app in question. Reviews tend to be brutally honest (especially if there is something wrong with the application). Before I install ANY app, I check to see how many stars it has, (the more stars the better), and how many people have actually left reviews, (obviously, the more the better). Try to find the answers to these questions in reading the reviews:
- Does it do what it says it will do?
- Does it crash?
- When was the last time the app was updated? . . . and the time before that?
- What is the general experience of other users, do they like it, and if so, why? If not, why not?
How Important is Customization to You?
Without question, Android is by far more customizable . . . in every way.
With an Android phone, you can easily change everything from the icon that is used for a given app, to changing the name of the app as displayed on the home screen. You can even change the entire interface and how it functions. This the one thing that I love about Android phones. That, and bleeding edge software, but more on that in a minute.
IOS allows you to change your wallpaper. After several years of being able to do so on an Android phone, Apple finally allows you to add widgets to your homescreen. Really? To me, that seems a bit restrictive. Obnoxiously so.
If customization is your primary concern, an Android phone is the obvious choice for you.
Are you a Power User who Likes to Tinker?
If you can’t wait to jailbreak your iPhone, or if you can’t wait to “root” your Android device, then Android quite frankly, it really does not matter which device you choose, because in either case, security it out the window. So, assuming that Security does not matter to you, I would recommend an Android device because it allows you much more freedom to have fun because you are far less restricted, and can do a lot more with a rooted Android, than you can with a jailbroken iPhone.
Which Platform Offers More Apps?
This question is a moot point. At present, there are approximately 3.48 million apps available on the Google Play Store while Apple offers about 2.22 million apps on the App Store. Basically, if you can think of it, there is an an app for that on either platform.
Let’s be honest. You would be hard pressed to find a need that could not be met. In other words, if you have a need for an app that will do XYZ, both platforms will provide an app that will meet your need. It may look different and go by a different name, but functionally speaking, you will be able to find an app that will meets your need.
If you are looking for a phone that offers top of the line security, one that is incredibly stable, where the apps and safe to use and have been thoroughly tested for malware of any other malfeasance, then the iPhone is a great choice for you.
However, if you are looking for something that is extraordinarily customizable, one that has bleeding-edge features and functionality, even if it means that it could be months, (or even years), before any vulnerabilities are patched (depending on the model of phone you have), then an Android phone will serve you well.
Both the IOS and Android operating systems have their strengths and weaknesses. Having exposed the major differences between the two operating systems, you have to determine which operating system will work best for you. Having owned both operating systems over the last 10 years, keep in mind that the operating system that works best for you, *may* not be the best operating system for someone else. It truly is a personal preference.
I have owned several iPhone and Android devices over the years, and because I like “tech”, I tend to change my buying behavior from year to year, however, I can tell you that I have owned an iPhone as my primary device going on 3 years now, and the reason for that is almost entirely due to security concerns, though at times, I am tempted to switch.
Tim ChesonisTim has been helping people with computers needs for several years, and he loves to help people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur's perspective and enjoys freelance writing. In fact, when he's not writing an article, you might find him binge-watching Suits or formatting his computer . . . again, just for fun. To learn more about Tim, click here.
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