Devices containing the Android and iOS operating systems account for almost all mobile phone sales, of the 383 million mobile devices reportedly sold during the first quarter of 2018, 86.2% were Android based and 12.9% on iOS.
There are a number of similarities as well as differences between the 2 operating systems which are only briefly summarised below.
There are approximately 3,500,000 apps available to Android devices on the Google Play Store and approximately 2,200,000 available on the App Store for iOS based devices.
Whilst, historically, the App Store proved more lucrative for developers and, therefore, was the normal store for them to release apps on iOS first, particularly in the USA, however, the percentage share of users means that is changing.
The Play Store has a refund policy for purchases made within 2 hours and also has the benefit of offering apps like game emulators as well as cell site measuring and other tools that can be used within a forensic environment.
Apple devices have always been expensive within the mainstream market and continue to be, however, they now offer different levels of cost for a broader range of devices in order to better compete with the increasing competition from other manufacturers including Samsung and Huawei.
Apple do not really offer budget options, even the now 3 year old iPhone 7 that is still available to purchase new is £450 and the most expensive, XS Max being £1,500.
However, Android devices are available from as little as £25 (Alcatel U3 3G), making them much more widely available to mass markets within different countries and continents.
The operating system is also designed to be able to run on low-end hardware and the Google Play store includes a wider range of applications with more being available for free.
Android and iOS based devices both allow the user to view the battery usage, including usage by application and both offer power saving modes to extend battery life by limiting performance and connectivity.
Android devices comparatively priced with iOS device generally have a longer battery life and also normally have a fast charger supplied as standard.
Apple devices are configured by default to alert the user to an update when it becomes available. Due to this, 78% of Apple devices are up to date with the current iOS version. These updates include software and security patches.
In comparison, an Android user is far less likely to have updated their device to the latest version of the operating system available and only 7.5% of user’s running the current up to date version. This makes the majority of Android user’s susceptible to ‘Zero-day’ vulnerabilities.
Whilst iOS is normally less complicated to operate than Android and all devices are uniform in appearance and layout, whereas, due to Android devices being produced by different manufacturers the layout between one Android device to another can differ.
Some manufacturers offer an ‘easy’ mode within Android devices making the interface larger and reduces the number of options available to the user.
Apple provides FaceTime and iMessage and Mail on every device and these applications provide a standard across all iOS based devices. Therefore, it is easy to pick up one Apple device from another and understand how to communicate with it including messaging, emailing and video calls.
As different Android devices are produced by different manufacturers the messaging, email and call applications can differ as they may have been produced by the manufacturers, rather than relying on the Google default, and the applications offered on a specific device may or may not be good.
The camera’s within iPhone devices have always been good in comparison to the opposition and the default iOS camera application offers the best results as the app has been designed specifically for the device.
With Android, the camera’s can be comparatively superior, however, the ability to take a good photograph is then limited by the success of the manufacturer in creating an application that works well with that hardware configuration. Google can produce a camera application, however, given that the hardware can vary greatly, they are not able to predict what camera that application will be used with.
Google Photos allows the user to automatically backup all photographs taken using their device to unlimited free online storage limited to 16 megapixel static photos and 1080p resolution videos for non Google devices which is unlimited in size and resolution for Google phones.
Google Drive provides 15GB of free storage and $2 per month for up to 100GB of space.
You can also use Google Drive with an iPhone, however, iCloud is only available to iOS based devices.
Apple only offer a 5GB storage limit within their iCloud online storage facility and $1 per month for 50GB.
The addition of Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12, which allows you to set up voice commands to trigger groups of automated tasks, is a big step in the right direction and Siri is also beginning to make more suggestions based on your iPhone usage. For now, however, Google Assistant can do more and seems to be improving at a much faster rate.
As long as the user does not move outside of the Google Play Store for apps, they are unlikely to encounter any malware.
However, the ability to go beyond the monitored and secure confines of the Play Store means that some users may inadvertently download malware onto their device.
In addition to this, the majority of Android users do not update their operating system which causes further potential security loopholes with their device.
Given that Apple prioritises privacy and manufacturers the devices that it later designs operating system updates to allow it to ensure that more devices are updated with software specifically designed for the device as well as providing encryption with default applications, such as iMessage.
Whilst it claims that it is fully committed to user privacy, Google mines Android user data to provide more relevant advertising so that it can make adverts more relevant to users and provide them with a better user experience.
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