Android vs iOS: Which is more secure?
Written by a NortonLifeLock employee
They’re both selling by the millions, with no sign of slowing down, but there are big differences between the iOS and Android mobile platforms – not least in the array of security threats they face, and the ways in which they attempt to mitigate them. You’re never totally secure when using a mobile device on either platform, but should the security conscious be choosing one over the other?
Help protect your digital life on your devices.
Are you afraid of losing your personal information or all the precious things on your computer? Get comprehensive protection with Norton Security Deluxe across all your devices – up to 5 PCs, Macs, smartphones or tablets.
Create an account today and try it free for 30 days on up to 5 of your devices.
The Threat Level
If we’re talking purely about the level of threat that exists on the two platforms, it would seem iPhone and iPad users have the better side of the deal. Studies have found that a far higher percentage of mobile malware targets Android than iOS, the software than runs Apple’s devices. That’s down both to Android’s huge global popularity and its open approach. Plus, Apple tightly controls which apps are available on its App Store, vetting all apps to avoid allowing malware through.
But the figures alone don’t tell the story. After all, it only takes one piece of perfectly formed iOS malware to do as much damage as thousands of copycat Android threats. And both platforms are equally at risk from social engineering, where hackers use more personal methods to target your logins and data.
Many threats to Android could be largely eliminated if all users upgraded their handsets to the latest version of the OS. The fragmentation of Android devices across old versions plays into the hands of malware creators, so it’s vital to keep your own devices up to date.
Apple has no similar problem, as each release of iOS quickly filters through to users. Indeed, iOS updates are big events that prompt mass upgrades, and that means significant security scares are rare enough to be big news when they occur. There are of course downsides to Apple’s tight grip over everything that occurs on its platform, but there’s no doubt it makes for a more secure environment for casual users.
By contrast, the security of Android often depends on the hardware it’s running on. Some manufacturers are better than others at making sure all Android’s built-in security features work correctly, for example. Samsung’s KNOX 2.0 platform, for instance, provides a more secure booting process, making sure unauthorised software isn’t loaded when a smartphone switches on.
Staying Safe on Android
There’s no doubt Android is a bit more of a Wild West than iOS, but, with the right precautions, it can still be a safe platform. If you must install apps from anywhere and everywhere on an Android phone, at least do everything you can to ensure they’re safe before you let them loose on your contacts, messages and social media accounts. Install a scanning app such as Norton Mobile Security, and use it wisely on newdownloads to prevent any Trojan horses from trotting innocently through the gates.
Safety for every device.
Security is no longer a one-machine affair. You need a security suite that helps protect all your devices – your Windows PC, Mac, Android smartphone or your iPad.
Try for 30 days before you buy with Norton Security Deluxe – helps protect up to 5 of your devices for one low price.
Disclaimers and references:
Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.
Copyright © 2021 NortonLifeLock Inc. All rights reserved. NortonLifeLock, the NortonLifeLock Logo, the Checkmark Logo, Norton, LifeLock, and the LockMan Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of NortonLifeLock Inc. or its affiliates in the United States and other countries. Firefox is a trademark of Mozilla Foundation. Android, Google Chrome, Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google, LLC. Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Alexa and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Microsoft and the Window logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. The Android robot is reproduced or modified from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.