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"But Android Has Had These Features For Years!" Ha! Not Really.

Image result for ios 12 and android p

Every year, almost like clock-work after every iPhone keynote or a WWDC we see a lot of memes and posts which go something like "Androids had these features for years welcome to *insert year here*", and sometimes they're right. iOS has lagged behind in features on a few occasions ( and so has Android on just as many occasions ). This year we've seen the " Androids had this for years" argument has been brought up with the Photos App (You can read about why I think that, that is not a fair comparison here) and Two Factor Authentication among other things.

Two Factor Authentication

This year Two Factor Authentication has been accused by a lot for being blatantly copied from Android. You're not wrong on the surface it looks really similar. 

Let's take a look into how Android manages two factor Authentication. Imagine you're trying to install an app like WhatsApp. WhatsApp will send an OTP(One Time Password) to your device for added security and just like magic the the code just enters itself into the space provided and you dot have to lift a finger( literally).
On iOS 12 things are slightly different, The OTP is shows up in the predictive text area of your number keypad and you can sign in by tapping the "From Messages Tab". 

Sure the Android method seems so much more intuitive. You don't even know that a message has been received, and Apples all about the it just works philosophy. So why in gods name has Apple gone for such a relatively inelegant solution? 

It's All About Permission

Image result for android two factor authentication
Its all about consent folks, Consent is just as important in the digital world as it is in the real world. You see the reason apps on android can so easily pick up an OTP is because you've granted said app all the permissions it needs to sift through all your messages. The more interesting thing is that you might not even remember granting the app permission to do this. If you've ever used Android you'll know that installing an app requires you to fill a questionnaire of permissions, Which range from the ability to make phone calls to preventing the device fro sleeping to you guessed it access to the messages. Frankly some apps go above and beyond this. Just look at the permission list of the Facebook Messenger app on Android, There's a laundry list of items. Most people just hit yes without ever realising what they're allowing a particular app to do.
I highly doubt that anyone is going to go into the bowels of the settings app to rescind permissions to an app after they've authenticated it (Frankly if you don't know what you're looking for its particularly hard to find).All of this permission giving can have real world consequences. When the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke and Facebook was forced to publicise all the data it had on it's users, It turns out that Facebook had a lot more data on it's Android users than when compared to iOS users. Keep in mind this is Facebook we're talking about, there are a lot of other apps out there with access to the exact same data and who aren't bound by the legal terms that Facebook is bound by. Just look at this article to see how bad the privacy issue can be.

So the next time you're going to call out Apple for copying Android  , There might be more to it than meets the eye.


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