Do you know smartphones share your data every ‘four and a half minutes’?

Google devices send 1MB of data from Google Pixel handsets when not in use every 12 hours, whereas Apple phones send 52KB.

smartphones

A new academic study has revealed that Android and iOS smartphones share data with their parent companies every four-and-a-half minutes.

The research conducted by The Trinity College Dublin has heightened privacy concerns. The findings show that there is little difference between Apple and Google when collecting specific data.

According to the study, iPhones do not offer more security than Google devices. The study published by Prof Doug Leith at Trinity’s Connect Centre noted that Google smartphones obtained “a notably larger amount of information than Apple.”

Google devices send 1MB of data from Google Pixel handsets when not in use every 12 hours, whereas Apple phones send 52KB.

Data shared includes details such as insertion of a SIM, handset details, hardware serial number, Wi-Fi MAC address, IMEI and the phone number.

Professor Leith said, “I think many people have accepted that Google and Apple require to gather data from our mobile phones to provide different services such as Google Drive or iCloud. However, when we use our phones only to make and receive calls and nothing more – it is much harder to understand why Apple and Google need to collect our data.”

He added, “Yet in this study, we find that Apple and Google collect a lot of information, and it is hard to see why it is necessary.”

Moreover, Prof Leith said the devices also collected data about handset activity and handsets nearby.

“The Wi-Fi MAC address classifies a device on a Wi-Fi network and uniquely identifies your home router, café hotspot, or office network. It means Apple can track which people you are near to, as well as when and where. That is very concerning.”

Professor Leith concluded that mobile users do not have the option to opt-out of data collection.

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