Collection of Apple-related comments/sentiments from Level1 News

I am re-evaluating my choices for mobile devices. Recently lost some valuables and it was a situation that could have been prevented by being more careful, and Apple Airtags as a backup precaution. Apple seems to be the best in class for several categories of mobile devices. That would require me to fully immerse my mobile workflow to the Apple ecosystem (I left a couple of years ago) and want to know what the trade-offs are in terms of privacy, potential future-proofing/future-getting-screwed.

I do recall Wendell warning about Apple’s wolf-in-sheep skin approach to privacy on several episodes of Level1 News but I can’t seem to find them. That got me curious to know if the team has actually commended Apple on any innovation that helped them to being the “best in class”. Hoping to get a collection of all the comments and sentiments so I weight the pros and cons myself.

Currently loving linux on my laptop and FDroid apps on my android phone. I did get an iPad recently but that’s mainly an input device for taking digital notes.

I don’t know about the L1 teams view but I can give my brief thoughts.

Worth maybe noting that tile has android support

I think this is probably correct. the main one I would put front and centre is the length of support for their devices, up to around 5 years or so (minimum these days) making them a good choice for devices with long term first party support and security updates. Unless you want a cheapo throwaway android device for $100 this makes some of the iPhones the most cost effective as well. the SE for example works out around $100 a year including a replacement battery.

Privacy, it’s all about managing your level of risk and exposure. What are you happy with and what are you not. If you don’t care about it at all it just doesn’t matter. It also depends on how much time you want to put into it.

In my opinion iPhones are ahead of the game in terms of built-in privacy. Apple aren’t making a device that doesn’t share anything, that isn’t their goal. Their goal imo is to hit a balance of privacy defaults and options and usability and functionality that they think hits the mark. Overall I think they’re going in the right direction for your average person, for some it will be more than enough and for others it may not be enough at all.

Android can potentially be more strict in its privacy controls, if you have the time to put into it yourself and accept the potential loss of some usability and potentially loss of some security in doing so.

Security and privacy is my day job, and I use an iPhone, but one of the reasons I do so is the built-in security and privacy is better than the competition, in some cases by miles. And to be honest, I cant be arsed screwing around with rooting, roms, and trying to get android to do what I want in terms of privacy. Ive been there, done that, had my fun and got off the boat.

With these questions though I always come back to a few main questions, and that’s what do you need the phone/device for? What are your main concerns about in terms of privacy and security (two different thing)? People can quite easily hyper focus on one aspect of privacy (for example) on one device thinking it will keep their information safe and will have completely ignored the fact that they’re leaking data all over the place everywhere else because they didn’t know what they were wanting to protect themselves from. When you get a good understanding of what you need, and what are just nice to haves it makes it a lot easier to decide where to spend your efforts with the limited time you have.

At the end of the day, they’re all tools.


Yeah, I totally agree with you.

I am quite happy with having the default increased privacy (probably perceived privacy) from Apple’s mobile ecosystem. I post the question to know more about what I might potentially be giving up. Another concern I have is that the Apple ecosystem of apps is not very open-source/self-hosted friendly. I’m not against paying for services, it’s just that these services often gets compromised even after giving my usage data. That dosent make sense to me. Just to be clear, I don’t mind giving Apple my data, I think they can protect it better than the rest. What I mind is giving third party services my data, I just don’t have the confidence they can protect it as well as Apple.

I use the FDroid apps on android to connect to self-hosted services. I get to keep some of my data, and I don’t get caught in these wide-casting nets by hackers. I don’t see myself much of a potential target to have a targetted attack.

I probably won’t tweak Android. From what I’ve read, it’s quite an effort to do so and de-googling will result in a lot of breakage, rendering it quite outside of my increased inconvenience threshold. Tweaking mobile systems is not as rewarding as a desktop system imo.


I’d say probably the following at least

  • hyper customisability
  • potentially losing more flexibility with different integrations
  • sideloading

I don’t think its any secret that Apple has an ‘ecosystem’ aspect to them. Their tighter control on how they want iOS to work gives them a big advantage on the Just Works™ department, and we’re going to see more of that Just Works theme with their in-house M1 chips.

Things you’d give up really depends on how you use your phone. If you’re just an every day person with your phone use its very likely the changes are largely cosmetic.

Id say this is true and not true. from the perspective of the OS its self, e.g. you cant put your own OS on there, yes its true, if you’re a Free Software kind of person then a proprietary OS its self is just unacceptable. But in terms of apps, its not. Yes you have to go through the app store to publish and follow their guidelines but this isn’t something open source necessarily cares about (free software does).

There’s plenty of open source apps on the ios store. You can switch up cloud storage for owncloud for example; want to use bitwarden as a password manager? no problem; Open Street Maps? got you covered; Signal for private messaging? Its there. You get the idea.

This is why I like these, and one of the examples of why i think apples privacy focus is generally focused in a reasonably balanced direction.

Id say in the end where you’d probably noticed a difference outside of cosmetic stuff and some missing features would be potentially poorer integration into some services. This isn’t universal but really depends on how much effort the developer has put into their apps and systems to integrate into iOS. This might be true in many respects with Android as well. I don’t have a concreate example though, but it might just be because apples is really good at making their stuff seamlessly work really well together.

This is probably true for the self hosted concerns as well. Im not sure id say apple isnt self hosting friendly after all theres really not many differences between self hosting and using a cloud service. I think the issue likely comes down to how well developed and designed the software is in the first place.

As one example (excluding the mentiend owncloud), you can run homebridge (open source) to integrate apples homekit automation with basically everything that isnt homekit enabled, all from a raspberry pi.

Worth mentioning as well that a lot of apps use your own icloud space for cloud storage and not their own, like how steam has steamcloud. So many apps that sync data never actually sync data outside of apple and your device. (Android has something similar i think, but im not sure how often its used?)

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I prefer android, so I wouldn’t trust Apple’s “Privacy”

It is all marketing.

If you want more information about privacy, read their policy and determine your risk tolerance. The video covered it as well

At the end of the day, I wouldn’t invest into the Apple ecosystem for privacy. If you want true privacy and you are willing to put in the work, get a pine phone (you can lock down linux).

If you want other features of the ecosystem, by all means go with Apple. In fact I have a iPad pro because there are not any better tablet with full feature parody.

Switching to Apple is not a full guaranteed privacy, sure they have some better policies, but loosing the ability to customize is a huge loss for me.

I prefer android, even if it has worse support, I am given the choice in my app store. Being able sideload fdroid and other open source applications apps is a huge benefit. On a ios, I would need to jailbreak just to get the same functionality.

There are great apps and ways to reduce the spookiness

This isn’t a thing. ‘True privacy’ is whatever meets your specific needs, you don’t need to lock yourself out of the world to get privacy. Apple’s privacy options isn’t all marketing just as androids isn’t, the level of built in options is different and will be good for some and not for others.

Stalman would agree with you, but not everyone’s willing to struggle with a pine phone for ‘privacy’. Which in regards to the pine phone, it’s all marketing as well if we were to go down that road.

I’d refer back to my original point, often is the case that people will get hyper focused on some specific issue on one device that they end up having a false perception that they’ve achieved ‘privacy’ only for them to be leaking all the same information via every other aspect of their lives.

Privacy is fluid, depends on your specific risks and needs and needs to be applied appropriately across your life or you’re not really achieving your goal.

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Back in 2012 (damn that’s a decade ago…) TS (including Wendell) had a video trying to come up with anything Apple has ever actually invented. They pretty much came up with nothing. Tough to imagine Apple has innovated anything since then.

Could you actually share more? How should I determine if an app does that?

I suppose what I meant above was really sideloading apps (or similar to). Getting a terminal app in iPad seems quite complicated. Theres so much things going on when a simple terminal would have suffice. I tried getting Tor browser on the iPad and while there are options to choose from, all requires a subscription for it to work. On any other platform, Tor is free to use.

I’m not sure if I am being fair, I might just not be used to the ecosystem

Surely the M1, AirPods are some notable inventions.

But they are good at mixing things together to give make a better product

Thanks! That’s what I was looking for! Certainly wont be under any illusions of privacy. It becomes a case of the lesser of two evils now.

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They’ll usually tell you either in the description or on their site i’ve found, but that might not be universal.

Do you mean a terminal for a CLI on the iPad its self, or a terminal to remote connect to servers? The former isn’t really a thing since it was never really designed that way

Onion Browser is the recommended one, its open source and loosely aligned with the tor project. It doesn’t have all the features of the normal tor browser as u understand though. But if looking at for on a mobile device, you might be treading into territory where you shouldn’t be using a mobile device at all.