A new study analyzed information sent to Apple and Google from their mobile operating systems. Android would transmit 20 times more data than iOS, but the iPhone would collect more types of information.
Our smartphones are constantly spying on us, sending a lot of information to Google or Apple servers. However, a new study published by Trinity College Dublin has analysed in detail the data transmitted by iOS and Android mobile operating systems. According to it, the total volume collected on an Android device would be multiplied by 20 compared to an iPhone.
Both systems contact Google or Apple servers on average every 4.5 minutes, even when the device is on standby. They communicate various device identification information such as the IMEI, the serial number of the SIM card and the device, or the phone number. Both Apple iOS and Google Android also send telemetry data, even if the user has explicitly disabled all possible options.
More types of data collected at Apple
A Google Pixel smartphone sends a megabyte of data at startup, then a similar total amount over a 12-hour period. The iPhone transmits 42 kilobytes at startup and 52 kilobytes over half a day. Data collection is not limited to the system, and includes many pre-installed applications, even if they were never opened. The article quotes Siri, Safari and iCloud on iOS and YouTube, Chrome, Google Docs, Safetyhub, Google Messages, Google Clock and Search Bar on Android.
However, if Android collects much more data than iOS, it sends more types of information. The iPhone scans the MAC address of all nearby devices, including other smartphones, and transmits it to Apple with geolocation, without it being possible to object. Not surprisingly, Google defends itself from this study, indicating flaws in the methodology, and that the data is used to ensure that the device is up-to-date and functioning properly. Apple has also been critical, claiming to be transparent about data collection and that users still have the ability to disable it.