Is Android More Secure Than iOS?

By James Tredwell on April 14, 2019

With the phones we carry around with us being nothing short of mini-computers, they become a tempting target for hackers. That’s something that is of great concern to all of us. After all, how much information do we have on our phones? We do our banking, communicate with one another, take photos, and so on

With all that in mind, it’s clear that we need to protect our data from cyber criminals. The next logical question is, “Which mobile operating system ranks as the most secure?”

In this post, we’ll look at the main two contenders in the market — Android and iOS — and see which one offers better protection.

Remember the days when cyber criminals primarily focused attacks on laptop and desktop computers? Times seem to be changing. Today, cyber criminals are targeting smartphones and tablets more often. And if this is true, then it begs the question — Which mobile operating system is more secure, Android or iOS?

We have to be upfront here about something — it’s not a simple question to answer. There are strengths and weaknesses with both systems.

The Difference in the Code

There are those that will say that iOS is more secure because the code is not released to app developers. Those owning these devices are not able to make changes to their phone’s coding at all. For this reason, it’s harder for a hacker to identify weaknesses to exploit.

Android, on the other hand, is based on open-source coding. That means that anyone can change the code. If you want to, you can alter it on your phone. This could allow greater customization but, if you’re not careful, also leave weaknesses for hackers to exploit.

The Difference in the Number of Devices

It’s true that hackers are more likely to look for vulnerabilities in Android operating systems. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise seeing as 72.23% of devices globally are powered by Android. The wider scope of devices and manufacturers make it easier for hackers to find vulnerabilities.

Not all manufacturers put the same amount of effort into making sure that their hardware is secure. That’s one area where iOS definitely outshines Android.

Now, before you tear off to exchange your nice new Samsung for an iPhone, there’s more to it than that. Because of the number of different Android devices, there are a lot more targets, but that doesn’t mean that no one is trying to beat iOS-based devices.

Hackers are equal-opportunity criminals and will look for opportunities wherever they can.

Neither System Offers Complete Protection Against Phishing Hacks

Sometimes they do this using an app that has malware embedded into it, but there are other tacks they can take as well. Phishing attacks can affect both Android and iOS-based devices.

Security Updates

This is one area where iOS is one step ahead. Both systems issue updates on a regular basis, but iOS tends to make a bigger deal of it. The best bet in both instances is to ensure that your phone is set to update automatically. That way, you won’t miss anything.

How to stay safe on Android and iOS

Many users find Android attractive because it is a more open operating system. This means, though, that you need to be more cautious. But keep in mind, you also have to be cautious with iOS.

Consider all the apps you download. Downloading a rogue app is the easiest way to infect your Android phone, tablet, or wearable device with malware or a virus. The same can be true for iOS. That’s why it’s important to download apps only from reputable sources.

Your best bet? For Android, stick to the Google Play store. Google Play features countless apps. You really have no reason to download Android apps from any other location. If you do venture outside Google Play, you could likely increase your chances of downloading an infected app. The same goes for iOS. It’s best to go to the Apple App Store.

Dealing with the App Store

With mobile devices, apps are a great way for hackers to get users to willingly download malicious code. Both the Google Play Store and Apple Store review applications before allowing them to be listed. In this respect, though, Apple is a lot stricter.

Android takes another knock in the department because it is relatively simple for users to change the settings on their phones to allow downloads from unknown sources. This means that users can download apps from outside of the Play store. It renders the Play store’s reviewing process somewhat obsolete.

Final Notes

Overall, Apple’s more stringent controls make iOS a safer operating system for the following reasons:

  • Users cannot change or customize the operating systems on their phones.
  • The Apple store is a lot stricter when it comes to accepting apps to be listed.
  • Apple is the only brand to use iOS. Android is used by a range of manufacturers, and not all of them take as much care as they should to create hardware that’s harder to hack.

This article is contributed by Nick Galov, Hosting Expert and Content Manager at

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