Modern smartphones generally come with one of the 2 main operating systems, Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android OS. iOS will only ever be on Apple’s own hardware in the form of an iPhone however Android is an open-source operating system meaning it can be adapted, modified and distributed in this customised way by a multitude of vendors on their own hardware.
This means with an Apple device generally you get good performance and a relatively bug free experience with regular security and performance updates until the device is deemed end of life by Apple and the updates stop. This Apple only hardware gives a secure and stable system but at a cost, with lack of competition Apple devices tend to be more expensive devices and are more costly to repair if something does go wrong.
Android’s flexibility allows cheaper devices to exist from well-known vendors such as Samsung, Sony and Motorola down to a whole list of random unknown cheap Android phones. This flexibility has also allowed for several new premium or niche brands to pop up, specialising in gaming or photography.
The flexibility of Android does however introduce more risk than the inherently locked down Apple iOS due to the fact Android device vendors can customise the OS, generally using their own user interface (UI) from the other devices. There are multiple app stores available for Android and the option to install from unknown (untrusted) resources which all introduce a level of risk to your data security. Also smaller, less known vendors may release a budget device and not regularly update the Android OS on it to fix any known security risks, so choose your phone wisely.
It’s common for an end user to favour one or the other OS, and generally keep upgrading within these ecosystems, allowing for owned apps to migrate and update from device to device. Almost all business applications are available for either system allowing for a common look and feel within business for email access, web access etc.
Whatever device you choose, there are a few simple ways to keep your device and data protected:
- Set a lock on your device, this could be pin, fingerprint, face recognition (less secure), etc. Don’t leave your device open to snooping.
- Keep your device up to date, any updates that popup for apps or the operating system should be performed within a reasonable time of them being available. Good devices will generally update automatically overnight unless you defer updates.
- Configure a recovery method, your Apple or Google accounts should have backup email addresses / phone numbers set to allow you into your device if you forget a password or pin.
- Backup your device and settings, both iOS and Android allow the devices to backup to Apple and Google allowing for quick restore in the event of a device being lost or damaged.
- Where possible have the “find my device” options enabled. Both ecosystems have their own location awareness systems which allow you to find a lost device or render it useless, wiping all data on it if it is stolen or lost for good.
- Use screen protectors and a good quality case. This is by far the cheapest and simplest way to protect your device against spills, scratches and drops. They are easy to replace and cost only generally under £10 compared to hundreds to have a screen replaced.