Mingis on Tech: Android vs iOS – for mobile security, which one's better?

Apple's iOS has long been seen as a more secure mobile operating system than Android. Here's how to evaluate each side's claims about mobile security.

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Apple's iOS mobile operating system has long been touted as being more secure than Android because of the company's tight control over both hardware and software. That closed ecosystem means routine security updates get pushed to users quickly and apps are well-vetted before they're offered up for download.

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Android, meanwhile, tends to be more fragmented across a variety of smartphone makers, who don't usually roll out updates to users as quickly as Apple. And its open-source nature can allow security gaps to creep into apps -- especially those downloaded from questionable sources.

So what's a smartphone buyer to do? More importantly, should companies favor one OS over the other if security is top of mind?

Mobile and security analysts clearly side with Apple and iOS, as Computerworld Senior Writer Lucas Mearian explained to Executive Editor Ken Mingis in this week's discussion. But that's apparently not the whole picture.

According to Computerworld blogger (and resident Android expert) JR Raphael, Android should be seen as just as secure as iOS in the vast majority of cases. Apps from the official app store are vetted; Google is working more closely with hardware makers and mobile carriers to bolster security (and now making its own devices); and alarmist headlines about Android malware have to be read with a grain of salt.

It's also important to remember, Mearian said, that while Android tends to get attacked more often – reflecting the OS's dominant position on mobile devices – iOS isn't immune.

So what's a company to do? That's the question we answer.

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