Research reveals startling new findings on Android data collection and how it sends 2-times more data to Google than iOS to Apple – Google has rejected the study.
It’s a widely known fact that both iOS and Android devices send handset data to Apple or Google continuously, including location, local network details, phone number, etc. However, it appears that Google’s Android collects 20x more data than Apple.
These findings are shared by a researcher who carried out a comparative analysis of the two operating systems.
Google Collects More Data than Apple
According to Douglas Leith from Trinity College, Ireland, Android handsets collects data round the clock, even when the device is in idle mode, has just been unboxed, or users have opted out.
Leith found out that both iOS and Android devices share telemetry data to their motherships after a user configures Privacy settings or hasn’t logged in. They also send data when a user performs basic actions like inserting a SIM card or changing the handset settings screen. When in idle mode, the device can connect to its back-end server after every 4.5 minutes.
Pre-Installed Apps/services Also send Data
According to the study [PDF], apart from the OSes, the pre-installed applications/services can also share data even when not in use. iOS automatically sends Apple data from Siri, iCloud, and Safari while Android shares data from YouTube, Chrome, Safetyhub, Google Docs, Google Messenger, the Google search bar, and the device clock.
Android and iOS Data Comparison
Leith revealed that an Android device sends Google around 1MB of data at startup, whereas iOS send Apple 42KB of data. In idle mode, Android shares around 1MB of data with Google after every 12 hours. Comparatively, iOS sends Apple around 52KB of data over the same period. Android collects 1.3TB of data within the US, while iOS collects 5.8GB of data every 12 hours.
Here’s which device collects what:
Google Rejects Findings
Google claims that these findings are inaccurate and based on flawed methods of measuring data. The company stated that data collection is the core feature of an internet-connected device.
According to Ars Technica, Google’s official statement regarding this matter read:
“This research largely outlines how smartphones work. Modern cars regularly send basic data about vehicle components, their safety status, and service schedules to car manufacturers, and mobile phones work in very similar ways. This report details those communications, which help ensure that iOS or Android software is up to date, services are working as intended, and that the phone is secure and running efficiently.”