You Can Stop iPhones from Spying on You, But Not Androids

Apple's iOS update resolves the location tracking scandal; Android not so much

This article is from the archive of our partner .

With a new software update, Apple resolved its iPhone tracking scandal that emerged after two data scientists discovered the phones record users' every move for a year. Customers of Google's Android phones aren't so lucky. Apple's new iOS update 4.3.3. makes the iPhone stop backing up location data on your computer and deletes the data when Location Services is turned off. The company says the location information is not transmitted to Apple, however, the information still remains on your phone if  you don't disable Location Services. The fix, available for download now, comes just one week after Apple initially addressed the issue.

If you've got an Android phone, however, good luck. As Engadget's former managing editor Nilay Patel tweets, "It took Apple just a week to deploy this update to all iPhone users, while Android makers are still shipping 2.2." Patael's quote speaks to Android's nagging fragmentation problem in which updates come slowly because software is not compatible with all the different Android models produced by various handset makers. TechCrunch's MG Siegler highlights the problem:

The most recent major version of Android, 2.3 (if we don’t include the tablet-only 3.0), has been out for about 5 months now. On what percentage of Android devices is it installed on? 4 percent, according to Google’s numbers.

Four percent. After five months.

While the holdup isn’t entirely Google’s fault, it is their fault by proxy. By allowing the OEMs and carriers to set their own schedules for OS releases, they ensure these insanely slow roll-outs (and sometimes the carriers choose not to roll out the updates at all) ...For Apple, this process is instantaneous because they’re in control. For Google… well…

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.