The rivalry between Android and iOS never seems to come to an end. “Which has faster loading speeds? Which makes better photos?” Another common comparison question is, “which is more secure?” Since Android and iOS are the top two operating systems for smartphones worldwide, they’re targeted more often than any other operating system.
So the question of security might be one of the most important questions to ask when choosing between iOS and Android. While it’s impossible to answer it definitively, we’ve gathered some of the main points regarding the security of these operating systems.
iOS is closed-source and Android is open-source
The iOS code is closed-source, meaning that it’s held privately by Apple, and neither developers nor iPhone users can adjust the code themselves. Plus, iOS is available only on iPhones, so Apple can ensure that the software and hardware match perfectly to reach maximum security.
The Android code is open-source, meaning that developers and Android users can make adjustments to the software themselves. Since so many people have access to the code and can make changes, Android is much more likely to have security vulnerabilities.
iOS security updates are more frequent
As soon as Apple spots a vulnerability in iOS, it can develop and release a security patch immediately, sending it out to all devices in use. However, because of the decentralized nature of Android and the number of different manufacturers using it, Google cannot send out security updates to every single Android device.
So while some Android devices may receive important security patches immediately, others may not receive them at all, making them more vulnerable to hackers.
It mostly depends on your own actions
From the previous two points, it would seem that iOS is the more secure option of the two. However, that doesn’t mean that Android has horrible security or that Apple is bulletproof. It’s not that black and white.
Ultimately, both of these operating systems are among the most secure on the market, and when users get hacked, it’s usually because of their own negligence. It’s much easier for hackers to try and fool Android or iOS users individually than try to hack into the complex codes of these operating systems.
Here are some important security tips for your smartphone:
Use good passwords
If you have weak passwords, that makes you vulnerable no matter what OS you use. It’s time for a change if you’re used to easy one-word passwords with just one or two numbers. Many special security tools online can help you create strong passwords.
Be careful not to infect your device with malware
People usually get hacked because they accidentally get malware on their devices. This can happen in many ways:
- Through malware-infected links – for example, hackers employ various social engineering schemes to make a malicious link look legit. It might come in the form of a pop-up offering you a prize, an email that looks like it’s coming from a legitimate company, or even an entire website that doesn’t seem suspicious at all. Basically, you should be careful before clicking on anything online.
- Through malicious public USB ports – find a USB charging station at the airport? It’s best to avoid it and look for a regular outlet. USB ports can easily be infected with malware, infecting every device connected to them.
- Through public wifi. A public wifi network might be an entry point for a hacker if the network isn’t secure enough. So it’s best to stick to your home wifi network or use your mobile data when you’re not home.
Being on old software puts you in danger even if you use a secure OS. Since the code for every operating system is super long and complex, hackers are bound to discover vulnerabilities sooner or later. The good news is that developers can quickly fix these vulnerabilities as soon as they become known. However, it’s up to you to ensure that you download these updates as soon as they come out. The best solution to this would be to set auto-updates for your software.
iOS and Android are both sturdy sets of software. iOS being closed-source and Android being open-source definitely gives iOS a few extra security points. Still, the reality is that the security of your smartphone mostly depends on how you choose to use it. If you use good passwords, think before you click, and never miss software updates, you should be able to protect your device no matter which OS you use.