Tim Cook says Android has more malware than iOS, blames side-loading

iPhone 12 Pro Max Scroll Display 2

David Imel / Android Authority


  • Apple CEO Tim Cook said sideloading iOS apps would “destroy the security” of iPhones.
  • Apple’s CEO also claimed that Android contains 47 times more malware than iOS.
  • However, we are not sure if this number is correct.

One of the best things about Android compared to iOS is the greater control it gives users, with sideloading apps being one of the biggest advantages. That means you can download apps from repositories other than the Play Store, and there are tons of apps out there that are worth loading from the site.

Now Apple CEO Tim Cook has in an interview with Brut America (h / t: ZDNet).

“The [side-loading – ed] would destroy the security of the iPhone and many of the privacy initiatives we built into the App Store where we have nutritional privacy labels and transparency in app tracking where people are forced to be allowed to track across apps “Cook explained.

Read more: Seven things Android can do better than iOS

“These things would no longer exist except for people stuck in our ecosystem, so I am very concerned about privacy and security.”

Cook also claimed that Android contains 47 times more malware than iOS. Apple’s CEO didn’t name a source for the claim, but a 2019 report by Nokia found that Android was responsible for 47% of detected malware infections, up from less than 1% for iPhones. However, malware infections detected on Android decreased to 26.6% from 2020, according to the report, while iPhones rose to 1.7% of the observed infections. So Cook’s quoted figure is incorrect when in fact quoting the old Nokia report. But what is the reason for this apparent discrepancy?

“That’s because we designed iOS to have an app store and all apps are checked before they go to the store,” explains Cook. It also goes without saying that malicious actors tend to target the most popular platforms, with Android being the leading smartphone platform in the world.

Is the argument valid?

There’s no doubt that the ability to sideload apps poses a security risk and, in theory, could contribute to more malware. However, Android phones are limited to using the Play Store and / or an OEM app store by default. Users who want to sideload an app still need to explicitly allow this ability to an app like Chrome, and the browser also warns users that the APK file can harm users. It’s just that iPhone owners have more hoops to jump through, making malicious apps harder to install.

Speaking of tires: Apple already allows the sideloading of apps on the iPhone if the user has a developer account. In addition, the company’s own app store is not perfect because the Washington Post previously reported that nearly 2% of the 1,000 top-selling apps in the store were scams. The App Store was also recently in the spotlight after it was revealed that 2,500 malware apps were uploaded to the store and over 120 million customers downloaded the infected apps.

That’s not to say that the Play Store is perfect too, as we often see reports of malicious apps being discovered in the store. But it suggests that Apple’s own store isn’t as secure as the company would like you to believe. It is also interesting that Android 12 will offer better support for alternative app stores, with Google setting certain conditions for these stores in order to improve security. So the search giant seems to be thinking that there is a way to accept sideloading while providing some level of security.

Do you appreciate the ability to side-load apps on your phone? Let us know via the poll above.

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