Mobile & Gadgets

Which Apps Are Nosier About Your Data? Android or iOS?

Wireless Carriers May Face FTC Investigation for Lagging Android Security Updates

Mobile applications are equally intrusive and curious about your data or whereabouts, regardless of whether they’re on iOS or the Android mobile operating system, according to data gathered via Bitdefender’s Clueful application.

Wireless Carriers May Face FTC Investigation for Lagging Android Security Updates

More than a year ago, we started collecting Android and iOS applications from the Play Store and iTunes to analyze how they behave on the device and what information they leak without users’ consent. Each application’s behavior is broken down into clues that offer the user an overview of what the application tries to access, what privileges it requires and how it will handle the data it can access when sending it over the web.

Although iOS and Android have different security models, applications pretty much look for the same thing: personal information that can be monetized by advertisers to sustain the free application distribution model.

Of the most important privacy threats, we discovered that 45.51 percent of analyzed iOS applications have location-tracking capabilities, as opposed to only 34.55% of the Android applications. At the same time, 7.69% of the Android apps can read the contact list, while only 18.92% of applications designed for iOS are technically able to do this. Other privacy intrusions discovered concern the leak of the unique device ID, leak of the phone number and e-mail address, as well as potentially risky behavior by negligence.

The full report is available for download on the Bitdefender website.

About the author


Bogdan Botezatu is living his second childhood at Bitdefender as senior e-threat analyst. When he is not documenting sophisticated strains of malware or writing removal tools, he teaches extreme sports such as surfing the web without protection or rodeo with wild Trojan horses. He believes that most things in life can be beat with strong heuristics and that antimalware research is like working for a secret agency: you need to stay focused at all times, but you get all the glory when you catch the bad guys.


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  • the “only 18.92% of applications ” is a faulty expression of the idea you’re trying to convey because 7.69 % is smaller than 18.92%

  • Hey there, Fee.

    This was intended as a “per category” comparison with the former category – location tracking (34.55 percent).

  • The content is a bit misleading.

    You should mention that iOS has options that will let you explicitly block apps from accessing your personal data, and those higher numbers don’t actually mean anything if you’re an educated user.

    • Hi there and thanks for your feedback.

      Educated users, as you call them, fall into a different category. They are tech-savvy users who are familiar with their environment(s) and can take care of themselves. But they are only a thin slice of the global user base – if you will – they fall into statistic margins. It’s just like PC malware – tech-savvy users are able to spot fakes, frauds and malicious attachments, yet the number of victims and financial loss goes into millions. When assessing a threat, you don’t judge by “you could have avoided that”, you just count the number of potential incidents that could end bad for the user.