The longstanding rivalry between iOS and Android has reached a new level of intensity. Recently disclosed documents from the ongoing Google antitrust trial by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) have unveiled Apple’s criticism of Google’s privacy practices, labeling Android as a ‘massive tracking device.’
In a presentation titled ‘Competing on Privacy,’ Apple strategically capitalized on Google’s privacy concerns to entice users to switch from Google to iOS. This presentation, sent from Apple’s Senior Vice President for Services, Eddy Cue, to CEO Tim Cook, directly characterizes Android as a substantial tracking mechanism. Interestingly, Apple uses this opportunity not only to critique Google’s privacy and security but also to underline the superiority of its own policies in these aspects.
The documents also emphasize that Apple only combines user data when it enhances the overall user experience. In contrast, Google appears to merge data across its services without clear justification. Furthermore, the documents mention that Google ties user data from Voice Search to the Google account, whereas Apple’s digital assistant, Siri, maintains a separate user data connection.
These internal documents shed light on Apple’s strategy to learn from its competitor’s privacy issues and place a strong emphasis on the privacy aspect of iOS devices. While it’s a well-known fact that both Android and iOS devices engage in tracking, Apple has notably improved security features in iOS devices. For instance, with the introduction of iOS 14.5, Apple introduced system permissions for ad tracking, significantly reducing tracking incidents on iPhones.