Apple vs Android on Security and Features

This post by Kyle triggered me a little bit, so I wrote a response with my opinion on the matter

Apple vs Android: Why Apple is the Clear Winner in Security and Features

Smartphones have become an indispensable part of our lives. When it comes to the two major players in the market, Apple and Android, there’s no denying that Apple stands out as the clear winner in terms of security and overall features...

Read the Full Post by Kyle on All Things Tech

Yes I just stole that upper embbeded post thingy from Kev’s site.

Recently Kyle did an editorial piece on Apple, which is, in my opinion, quite interesting to say the least. After reading it a while ago and once again when writing this, I still think that Apple is NOT the clear winner in security and features.

This is going to be a bit of a rant, I ain’t gonna lie, but sometimes, you have to correct things you know are wrong. But hey, maybe I am not correct in many things either so, feel free to respond to this too.

Kyle, I am very grateful for everything you as a developer, and also co-administrating a pretty cozy instance on Mastodon, but this article didn’t really have that many good points—in the opinion of an Android fanboy such as me, lol.

So, since this is my blog, I’ll just write the reasons I consider many of the arguments brought up in this case are wrong—from a certain point of view.

Security

I have to admit, that in a way, Security is the one factor where Apple has a certain advantage, but does it really?

Apple is a closed ecosystem, so, once its compromised, we have to rely on them to fix it. With Android, we can switch, we can upgrade, we can build from source, we can remove system apps and do whatever. Of course it is not always easy and its a burden on the regular user—one does have to get to work and get dirty with some things.

Also, in Android we can usually get apps (at least the FOSS ones) directly from developers and whatever distribution methods they provide (GitHub, F-Droid, Websites), without having to rely on the app store itself. This argument could be used against a Distro Repository, or F-Droid itself. But I would rather trust people and systems I can even contribute to, instead of a corporation.

Apple has a single point of failure and we have to put all our trust in them, simple as that.

Features

I mean, Android has more features—and it is much more flexible. There is simply no comparison. When it comes to interface and design, it is just a matter of taste. Both old and young people can struggle using an Apple device just as much as they struggle with Android. And you can get Android phones with physical keyboards, different screen sizes and features according to your needs.

Apple likes to refine things to a level that sometimes makes no sense, and then they also like to pretend it never existed. Just look at the dynamic island, have you ever heard of any new uses for it since it came out? And look at widgets, they maybe more fancy, but they are nowhere near as useful as on Android, and their potential is very limited, they end up unnoticed and underused, unless they can make money out of it, I guess, like getting rid of the headphone jack, or having a bunch of MagSafe add-ons.

Privacy

Privacy is a matter of scope nowadays, you can’t be fully private if you have a connection to the internet, but you can choose who you want to be private from.

I don’t trust Apple with my data, and I don’t trust Google with my data. Or maybe I do, I have YouTube, I can use YouTube, but I can also use a frontend for it if I want, which can also serve as a proxy and anonymize me.

But wait! Apple won’t let you install those app frontends like Newpipe or so. At least you can use the brower you want to check websites frontends right? NO, gotta stick to Safari. Or you can use a skin that is just frontend of Safari to watch a frontend of YouTube of course, very fun!—alright enough getting off topic.

Similarly, Android can be used in its AOSP form thanks to a good amount of custom ROMs, maintained by the community. Of course, you have to trust those random developers. But again, I’d rather trust them than Apple or any corporation.

Yes Apple has a bunch of privay claims and they somewhat fulfill them, but it really feels like a marketing strategy rather than something they do just because it is the right thing to do.

Compatibility

Android apps can support multiple Android versions, you can still install modern versions of many apps on Phones running versions like Android 8 (Oreo) or even older.

I may be wrong, but I think that as soon as an iOS version stops getting support, there are really no more app updates for it. Of course they give you a lot of updates for a long time, but Android is catching up on that regard too! At least with some vendors. Not to mention custom ROMs.

While interactions between devices is not as smooth as what Apple can do. Android has a lot of apps that help achieve similar functionality. Kyle mentions the seamlessness of Google products and services, but I don’t use either of them. I can do wit DAVx5 (Calendar and contact sync), Nextcloud (Cloud file storage, also interacts with DAVx5), KDE Connect (Computer and phone sync, share clipboard, and a lot more), Syncthing (Cloudless file sync) and similar tools that get the job done in many regards. And a bunch of these 3rd party apps can’t even work on iOS, so you are stuck with what Apple offers you and not much more.

App Store

App Store is controlled by Apple and they are evil.

Play Store is controlled by Google and they are evil.

Apple is barely following EU regulations in the worst possible way regarding their walled garden practices, and I don’t think any upcoming new changes they may have to do will still make it worth it.

Android let’s you install apps from 3rd party sources. You can use F-Droid (FOSS app store, I recommend the Droid-ify client), Obtainium (Fetch app updates from multiple sources, usually the developers themselves), Aurora Store (Get apps from Google servers, without a Google account), and many other options, some more trusted than others, of course.

There’s a lot not to like about Android as it is offered by Google and OEMs, but the community behind it offers a bunch of ways to stray away from the surveillance and data mining that goes on. Apple says they do things, and we have to trust them, but when they don’t, who can hold them accountable anyway? I just don’t trust Apple, and Google sucks too.

Finishing up

Give up on Google, give up on Apple, give up on an easy life and just install a Custom ROM on some random Xiaomi phone while you can, or get a used Pixel that works just as well if not better.

Just kidding, I have Google on my phone, I have to use banking apps now and I gave up on my privacy and freedom and we are all doomed.

This is day 19 of #100DaysToOffload

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