Why exactly are iPhones a nightmare for privacy enthusiasts?

I will start of the post saying that android phones have come far, very far in the past 6-7 years or so. But it still doesn’t beat apple’s iphones (top end flagships comparison), at least in the very crucial things I look for in a phone.

Camera? Iphone. Performance? Iphone (at least in the benchmark department). And there’s tons of other nitty gritty things that apple wins over in.

I am not an apple fanboy to say the least lol, typing all this from my samsung. But when it comes to shilling out money to get the very best top end flagships on the market, it’s easy to always pick the iphone over the android. The samsung I am currently running has been rooted and I’ve applied all the necessary “privacy” precautions and hacks to it and I’ve gotta say I love it.

But should I really shy myself away from getting an iphone? Is there not some hacky techniques I can use to at least achieve a noteworthy level of privacy on my iphone? Or should I just opt in for an android because my iphone will hand all my data over to the aliens?

Nothing wrong with getting an iPhone, there’s a few considerations:

  1. You will need to make an Apple ID in order to install apps and use most of the functionality of the phone
  2. You will need a phone number for your Apple ID, although I’ve been able to get VOIP numbers to work here you may not have as much luck
  3. Apple can see all the apps you install from the App Store (same with Google Play store but on android you have to option to get apps from other sources)
  4. You will need to put in a credit/debit card to install apps, even free apps (they don’t let you use gift cards without putting in a cc number afaik)
  5. There does seem to be some mandatory telemetry/crash reporting, although you can disable most of it

Basically you’re trusting Apple a bit more than you need trust Google on something like GrapheneOS. Other than these issues, iPhones are very secure and excellent choices as long as they fit into your threat model.


#4 is not true, you can have an Apple ID without adding payment

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Thanks for this! Do you mind giving an example of a threat model where an iphone would not be ideal? For political journalists? Whistleblowers? People in those professions?

Basically any threat model where Apple is a threat, because if you can’t trust them then you shouldn’t be using their OS. I’m not really sure in what situation that would apply. For journalists, whistleblowers, etc, their main adversary is going to be governments/large organizations that they are whistleblowing about, so maybe an Apple whistleblower wouldn’t want to use an iPhone. iPhones have been a pain for governments to get into historically and will continue improving in the future, so I think they actually make for quite a good choice for journalists.