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Data octopus Google: Android sucks around 20 times more data than iOS

In terms of functionality, the two operating systems have been on an equal footing for several years now. You only look for differences in nuances and both like to look at the features of their respective counterparts. In terms of data protection, however, the two could not be further apart, as a recently published study impressively underscores.

Gigantic outflow of data

The study was conducted by researchers at Trinity College, led by Douglas Leith, and was first mentioned by Ars Technica. All telemetry data that both operating systems sent to their respective company servers were examined. In order to get a more precise picture of this, the data of the services and system apps for which the user had expressly objected to the transmission of the data were also recorded:

S.Both iOS and Android transfer telemetry data to the company servers, even if a user has not logged in or has explicitly configured the data protection settings in order to log out of such a collection. Both operating systems also send data to Apple and Google when a user does simple things like inserting a SIM card or browsing the handset settings screen. Even in standby, each device connects to its back-end server every 4.5 minutes on average.

Douglas Leith, head of the study

Particularly noticeable: On Android, system apps and system services collect and transmit data even if there is no actively used Google account. It doesn't matter whether Google Chrome, YouTube, Google Docs, SafetyHub or Google Search are actually used or not - the data is always transmitted. iOS, on the other hand, only collects and transmits data from Safari, Siri and iCloud. In addition, according to Apple, this data is always anonymized before transmission, although this is difficult to verify

Google collects 20x more data than iOS

In order to understand how big the difference is, you have to know the size of the transmitted data and put it in the right relation. The amount of data under iOS is around 52 kilobytes, while under Android the amount of data is already 1 MB. That may not sound like much at first, but it adds up to a decent amount of data if you observe this over a longer period of time:

When idling, Android sends about 1MB of data to Google every 12 hours, compared to iOS, which Apple sends about 52KB over the same period. In the US alone, Android collects a total of around 1.3 TB of data every 12 hours. During the same period, iOS accumulates around 5.8 GB.

Result from the study

What effects does this have in everyday life?

Disregarding the violation of privacy, the extreme extent of data collection is absolutely noticeable in everyday life. On the one hand, Android nibbles on the data volume, which is still a rare commodity, at least here in Germany. On the other hand, this simply puts a strain on the battery and thus ensures a shorter battery life than specified.

Google vehemently disagrees

The topic has been known since yesterday, but we wanted to wait for the statement from Google. The group from Mountain View is understandably not happy with the results of the study and attacks the makers indirectly. One is "disappointed, since the experimental setup does not correspond to the actual user behavior."The company also stated that it only "collect absolutely necessary telemetry data" and this exclusively for "Improving his services" collect.

We do not want to take sides, but there is still a valid weakness in the study. It is not entirely clear which smartphones were tested with Android. It does make a difference whether it is a device from the Pixel series, equipped with native Android, or a device from Samsung, Huawei or Xiaomi. These manufacturers put an additional user interface on top of the actual Android, which also siphons off data.

All in all, however, it is frightening how data-hungry Android actually is. In addition, it confirms once again one of the simple rules of thumb in IT: Nothing is really free and you pay either in monetary terms or with your personal data.