Report: iOS users care more about privacy and data security than Android users

Data collected by cloud storage provider iDrive shows that iOS users are more likely to back up data and use available privacy controls.

You wouldn't think privacy and security were platform-specific, but data released by cloud storage service iDrive today seems to say that iPhone and Android users differ in this way as well as many others.

iDrive took a look at the volume of photos and videos backed up on each platform, and how many users elected to use private key encryption for better data protection. While Android has far greater market share than iOS as a mobile platform, iDrive used a total of 20,000 users from each platform to keep the comparison on an even playing field.

iOS users backed up more, encrypted more

The data showed that iOS users are more concerned with data privacy, and more likely to back up and protect data than their Android-using peers. Here are the numbers: iOS users backed up 33 percent more photos, and nearly 20 percent more videos than Android users. iOS users were also more than 25 percent more likely than Android users to protect data in the cloud using private key encryption.

To be clear, we're not talking about anything inherent in iOS or Android itself, so the disparity in the results can't be blamed on the mobile platform. The iDrive data is a measure of the choices that users made when presented with the same opportunity to back up or encrypt data.

Are the iDrive findings just a random coincidence, or is it a reflection of the broader culture behind each platform?

"iOS and Android both have users that land between 'Does not care at all' and 'Cares deeply' on the security and privacy awareness spectrum, but it's no coincidence that iOS users seem to rank higher," proclaims, Patrick Nielsen, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

Of course, Apple is known for closely protecting the iOS environment, while Android is an open-source platform with a very open ecosystem. In general, iOS is more likely to impose security by default, while Android tends to offer security options and leave it to the user to implement.

"Apple and Google are taking [security] to heart," said Garve Hayes, solution architect for NetIQ, "but I think Apple has taken it one step further and has removed the conscious decision from the device owner--they just go ahead and do it."

Many of the factors that make Android more vulnerable to compromise are related to the ability to download and install apps that haven't been vetted, from shady third-party app stores. Users who jailbreak their iOS device and go outside of official Apple channels to download apps also expose themselves to increased risk.

The takeaway for iDrive applies to everyone, though. "Whatever factors might explain why iOS users are more prone to protecting their data," the company stated, "the conclusion is simple: People should be more aware about how to protect their data no matter what platform they use."

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