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Switch to iPhone: For a more private Google experience

The apps that Google has released for the iPhone include YouTube (opens in new tab), Google Maps (opens in new tab), Gmail (opens in new tab), Hangouts (opens in new tab), Google+ (opens in new tab), Google Authenticator, Chrome (opens in new tab), Google Search (opens in new tab), Google Drive (opens in new tab), Google Play Music (opens in new tab), and more. Having them all on the App Store makes it easier for Android owners to switch to iPhone.

The pros and cons of deep integration

The most often cited advantage for using Google apps on Android is the integration. Google Play, for better or for worse, has become one half the sandwich that makes up almost all Android phones outside of China. That means Google apps go deep into the system and allows for everything from Google Now predictions to seamless intercommunications.

Yet every advantage comes with it an equal and opposite disadvantage. To achieve all that integration, you have to be signed into Google everywhere — from the Google Play store to Gmail to Google Maps to Google Calendar to YouTube to Chrome and on and one. Google gets to know what you're downloading, the contents of your email, where you are, who and when your appointments are with, what you're watching, and most everywhere you're browsing.

Again, many people won't care. For them the quality and "free" price of the services more than make up for the attention and data required as payment. For others, however, attention and data is far more valuable than money, and price we're not always willing to pay.

The value of disintegration

On the iPhone, if you want to use Gmail, Google still gets your communications. Same with Google Calendar and appointments. There are just some things for which you need an account. There are alternatives, like iCloud, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, but if you're all in on Google, there's no way to avoid being all in with Google. Same with Google+, because social network.

Other services, however, you can use perfectly well on iOS without being logged into Google. They don't make it easy, obviously, and they withhold some conveniences to try and incentive logging in, but you can do it. You can watch YouTube videos without being logged in. You can use Google Maps without being logged in. You can even use Chrome without being logged in.

It may not mean much, there may be a hundred other ways to track you and companies doing the tracking, but if you're sensitive about Google in general, yet still want or need to use its services, it may mean something to you.

And alternatives

If it ever gets to the point where you decide Google's interests and yours no longer align enough to use its services, even if they're free, then the iPhone also makes it easy to switch to alternatives. Vimeo, Apple Maps, and Safari are just a few of the options available. Almost everyone makes app for iOS, so you can choose whoever you want. If Docs becomes an issue for you, there's Microsoft Office and Apple iWork. If Hangouts starts to creep you out, there's iMessage, Skype, Whatsapp, LINE, even BBM.

Google offers terrific services for millions upon millions of people, but what's even more terrific is having a choice in whether you use them or not. Even the choice to flip back and forth between using them and not without having to also flip phones just to do it.

Time to switch!

Privacy is an increasingly important issue. Apple has made privacy, along with security, a front-facing feature from the top down. They want it to be a competitive advantage, and that's great for customers who value it as a feature. If you want alternatives to Google apps, or even if you want to use some of Google's apps without being logged into Google, the iPhone is a great way to do it. And it's just one of the benefits you get by making the switch.

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

54 Comments
  • Switch to iPhone for a more private Google experience huh ? But didn't you say "On the iPhone, if you want to use Gmail, Google still gets your communications. Same with Google Calendar and appointments. There are just some things for which you need an account. There are alternatives, like iCloud, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, but if you're all in on Google, there's no way to avoid being all in with Google. Same with Google+, because social network."
    I dont understand ? How is that "a more private Google experience" if you still need to be logged into google to use those services on an iphone ?
    I accept yes use alternatives and you wont need to be booked into google but shouldn't this article be titled differently ?
    I don't know how much data apple keeps, I think its less then google but a bet those alternative apps you mentioned store just as much data as google does! So it comes down to who do you trust better with your data when you alternatives - Google or the alternative apps ?
  • Finish the article. Sent from the iMore App
  • I did :-)
  • I read it all as well and doing what Rene is talking about can be just as easily done on an Android phone. All the Google services that require an account will require that account no matter if it's iOS or Android. I can choose to not sign in to Google in the same Google apps that Rene is saying that I don't have to sign into on iOS. Also using alternatives like Yahoo, Apple, or Microsoft still means I'm giving them my info. What they do with it is debatable. The only way to have true privacy is to run your own email server and have it guarded and configured by the best in the industry. Otherwise your safer using the big companies. In the end if your online your not private. I have to really say if you step back from the tribal war of Android vs iOS this article is claiming a privacy benefit by switching that isn't there. If you don't want Google to know anything you can still use Android. When the phone boots you can skip doing anything with Google if you choose.
  • Yet another useless, terrible, clickbait article by Rene..if you use google services(ie. gmail), they get your information no matter what phone you're using. And if you don't want to use google calendar on Android, you don't have to. There are a million other calendar,mail, chatting and video apps available for Android. You don't need to switch to iPhone to use whatsapp or Vimeo... Plus, on Android, you don't have to be signed in to use chrome or google maps either...your lack of knowledge is amazing..... Also, giving your information to Apple or Facebook instead is oh so much better than giving it to Google? Get a grip homeboy.
  • Couldn't disagree more and found this article to be well worth the click. I really enjoy Rene's pieces and think his tech knowledge insightful, thought provoking, and accurate. Try watching Rene on one of the podcast he co-host and maybe you'll see that he is not the type of author that writes "clickbait". Imagine having to pump out articles every day for ANY technology and you will see that it's impossible to produce 100% free clickbait. This is an iMore article by the way, you can find plenty of cool android articles over on Android Central...Dude
  • Ok, tell me why it was worth reading when an article is factually incorrect. Everything that Rene said you can do with iPhone to increase your 'google privacy', you can do with android too... so there is no real basis for switching platforms in this article, and, there is no more 'private google' on iphone as everyone else pointed out, hence typical Rene's useless article meant to get clicks. Yeah I do find alot of pretty cool articles on AC and i certainly don't get my android knowledge from Rene. I come here because I have a macbook so some of the articles here are useful to me.
  • Rene Wrote: "Privacy is an increasingly important issue. Apple has made privacy, along with security, a front-facing feature from the top down. They want it to be a competitive advantage, and that's great for customers who value it as a feature. " This is the main point of the article and one that is very important. Most users are not savvy enough to dig down into their settings to ensure their privacy let alone try to make sense of Google's crazy permissions. I live in both the Android and iOS world and consider myself a bit tech savvy and find is most irksome that an Android App cannot be tweaked to stop it from using my microphone or locating me with GPS. I mean does my Chess app really need to be following my location?? Really??
    However if I use that App in iOS I don't have to worry about that. I am given choice, and that choice is something I really want.
    I remember a really cool Google Play app "App Ops Starter" that could be used with Jellybean I believe. It allowed a user to restrict certain android permissions. This was a step in the right direction and what did Google do? They squashed this App and other useful ones like it in KitKat. Why? Because they are all about gaining every piece of information they can about you and not giving you, the user, the option to opt out of certain odious permissions. This turned me off to Google and I saw the long term implications of their actions. And that is why I use Apple products whenever I can. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy Google Apps and their functionality, especially their cloud integration and sharing which are great, arguably the best. However, long term their business model is not right for people who prize their privacy. So, did Rene have any inaccuracies in this article? Maybe depending on your view of the mobile world, but the overall gist was spot on and that is that....Dude
  • Wow this is terrible. You can have a Google account with Google Plus, I have one. Without signing in on Google Apps you negate the entire purpose of having sync. Not to mention, not every service is as reliable as Google sync. I used to use Microsoft for my calendar appointments until their syn went down for like a day and a half, even their calendar website was broken. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Rene: You do realize that the same could be accomplished by getting a CyanogenMod Android phone such as a OnePlus One, or by buying practically any Android phone with an unlocked bootloader and putting a CyanogenMod ROM on it? Pretty much everything that you listed in this article can be accomplished via CyanogenMod. Or by getting an Amazon Fire Phone.
  • Yes but since this is iMore then using the iPhone in comparison makes sense.
  • If hangouts starts to creep you out, give your information to other services? If you don't like Google knowing what videos you watch.... Give it to other services? Don't like Google storing your documents online? Here, put them in this companies database. That makes so much sense. This is the typical "Google is evil" crap that you claim to hate when people do it for Apple. Oh no, icloud had major leaks, why should I trust them? Apple makes it hard to access my content outside of their ecosystem, is that convenient when I don't have only apple devices? "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Fiber in Nashville? Save me based Google.
  • iCloud didn't have leaks, somebody just abused the password reset system. Get the facts right. Sent from the iMore App
  • I do believe I'm referring to people claiming apple had leaks, when they didn't, and Rene claiming using Google Apps while not logged in on an apple device is better than doing the same on Android. Both are false. Have a good day. "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Fiber in Nashville? Save me based Google.
  • What's the actual reason for this article? Don't see where you explained the more private experience? Is there a part 2 like the hunger games part 3 part 1?
  • It must be some really obvious 'private experience' or a 'super secret' one that it didn't even merit an explanation in the entire article.
  • No reason, just another useless clickbait article by Rene.
  • These types of articles and the Samsung bashing articles are just unnecessary on imore. This wasn't worthy of a full article. Posted via iMore App
  • I have an iphone and ipad, and android device. And i mostly use google apps; maps, gmail, chrome... I love google services, and what would be the point of them if your not logged? Not being able to save playlists, save map locations and have easy search. That would just make the whole experience hard. Same as using apple maps and services, especially if you have a mac. You cannot do much with it not being logged in, no continuity, not downloading apps, no photo's sync services, and more... I think all companies take something away from us using their services. They probably do not track exactly what each person is watching or using, but they do anonymously track which apps we use, what videos we go to, and which songs are downloaded most and so on. but anonymously.. There are too many people using there services anyway for them to worry about a specific one or two people anyway.. What's to worry about is hackers trying to steal information and use it... For now, google nor apple are not really an issue. Either of them deliberately trying to take information from consumers would hurt their companies.
  • I know you say that, but Google got caught and paid millions to settle when they put cookies on Safari to track users not using Google products. That information is what Google does as a company. Sure they have Android and others but that is not where they make their money. Their real customers are the companies they sell our data to for advertisements. You cannot compare that to Apple using data for other reasons as they are not turning around and selling that data. Two completely different companies so I do agree Apple wouldn't use that info in nefarious ways, but I don't agree Google isn't as they have been caught multiple times misusing data. I don't know why people forget about Google installing cookies to track mac users on Safari that are not using Google products. That is a very scary fact they got caught doing. Ive always took up for Google up until this point much like you and others in this article, but this made me really take a hard look at Google and their services. The last year Ive been fading out my use of Google products and this was one of the main reasons why I'm making this choice. You and other Android fans can ignore this and continue to apologize for Google, but as for me this fact is very telling about Google behind closed doors and I think this is only the tip of the iceberg.
  • To show how little research was done for this article, there is nothing mentioned in the article that isn't also available on Android. You can sign out of just about every product, like Maps, Chrome, and Google+. Of course, on Android, when you do choose alternatives, they can also become the default applications. So by all means, if you value privacy and want a phone that you can choose which services are the defaults, switch to Android.
  • "So by all means, if you value privacy, switch to Android." You're kidding, right?  is much more secure than Android.
  • Don't conflate security with privacy.
  • Oh, I don't. iPhone is both more secure and more private.
  • *tosses blackberry in your face* what were you saying again? "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Fiber in Nashville? Save me based Google.
  • Where have I mentioned Blackberry? Follow the context. This is about iPhone and Android.
  • I don't agree with Google being more secure but for the most part Google apps are actually better on iPhone than android. Sent from the iMore App
  • Now this is a true statement. IOS apps are just built better in general. If the article said "better apps" than it would have made for a more truthful read.
  • Rene, everything I wanted to say has been said in other comments, except:
    What's the issue people have with Google having access to your information? It's not a guy reading all your emails and stalking you, it's computer algorithms that pick out certain words to serve you better ads. Why is that a problem? Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Dude... thank you. People really seem to think that if they allow all these things to "read your email" that someone is actually reading your email!! It really boggles my mind how paranoid people are. What's the worst thing that might happen with Google collecting data on you? You might get ads that give you information you're actually interested in? OMG! The horror!! Some people think that if you sign up for all this stuff, you'll get all kinds of spam mail. Well, if I look in my spam folder in Gmail, 100% of it comes from a non-Google account that I haven't used in at least five years. I have that POP mail account set up in my Gmail because I think I have a credit card attached to it. So it remains active. The only thing it does is receive spam mail. I literally have NO spam that comes directly to my Gmail account. People need to relax. Articles like this one don't help the misinformed.
  • You can apologize for Google all you want, but numerous times Google has been caught tracking data they shouldn't. For example, what about the so called bug that was gaining everyones wifi passwords installed on Google Maps cars? What about Google getting caught and settling out of court for installing cookies on Safari using Macs tracking everything we did on our computers even without being signed into Google apps? What about what the user that commented below? This is just a handful of things. Hell, even Google's mantra is a an absolute joke (Don't be evil). The fact remains they have access to this data and it COULD be read if someone wanted to. And the fact remains Google as a company makes over 90% of its billions of dollars by selling data to their real customer that are in turn selling you ads. That might be ok to you and others, but paired with the facts above it is too much for me to just laugh off and say its just Google being Google. They are in the business of collecting everything users do online, where they travel, what they buy, who they talk to, their friends, email, and now thanks to Android, everything you do on your phone. So where does Google draw the line? Where do they decide to not be evil? Neither you or I know that and that is scary. Whats to say they don't have an employee who has access to this data that will not use this in negative ways? It is too much for one company to have. What if they are hacked? Can you answer all these questions? No you can't, so articles like this are warranted and people deserve to know so they can make their own decisions because Google isn't forth coming about what datA they collect and certainly about what they sell. You can allow your privacy to be sold to the highest bidder while making companies like Google billions of dollars, but as for me I simply care more than I used to based on the nefarious things they've been caught doing,.
  • if you're paranoid about someone at sitting and reading your top secret emails, then don't use gmail...Whether you are on Android or iPhone, no body is forcing you to use gmail for your emails, you can use any email provider you like on android....to spin this as a reason to switch to iphone is simply ridiculous.
  • Aren't those point the same with just about any tech company that has cloud services where your data resides? Including Apple?
  • What about credit card companies? Don't their employees have access to all your credit info, SS number, etc? I assume you have a credit card card. So you must trust them not to sell your identity to the black market. How do you find that easier than trusting Google with the frivolous info they collect about you? This article just perpetuates myths, and plays on people's paranoia, in order to help Apple sell more iPhones. It also creates more paranoid lunatics...
  • If Google can exploit Safari within the Apple ecosystem and leave data tracking cookies, what makes you think there aren't numerous other smaller companies that are doing the same? Posted via s6Edge
  • It actually shows a vulnerability in Apple's products, if you ask me. Sure, Google was doing it, but Apple was letting them...
  • The Google map cars were getting Mac addresses, not wifi passwords... Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • The point remains. It does not matter what they collected it is what they are doing with it and why was it there in the first place. The point of my post was showing that Google has shown over and over they can't be trusted with users data. They put profits ahead of security and privacy. It shocks me to no end that I get so many replies apologizing or ignoring the fact that Google has done these things. Hell, one person above blamed Apple for not being secure when that has nothing to do with security what so ever. Thi is why Google continues to do what they do. They are never held responsible for it. I use Google products too and they are great (and free to boot), but we should all be asking better questions concerning what Google is doing with our data and once sold what their partners are doing with that data. You may not care (like I used to), but the things I mentioned above are things we shouldn't be ignoring and certainly not apologizing or making excuses for no matter how much we all love Android.
  • You keep saying the same thing repeatedly and I believe that it's wrong. Google does not sell the data that they collect.
    They sell ad space. They target certain ads to you based on the data that they have.
    For instance. As I approached the airport one day I received a number of ads on Google Now telling me of a number of lunch specials at airport restaurants and sales at airport retail shops. I found that quite handy. But I am quite sure that Google did not transfer any of my data to any of those establishments.
    If you know otherwise, please enlighten me.
  • Obviously people at Google can read your emails, or the two people wouldn't have been fired a few years back for stalking people via their email. Sent from the iMore App
  • I bought a MacBook in February and was so enamored with the hardware that I sold my Moto X for an iPhone 6+. Again, I LOVE the hardware. But, in all honesty, I'm probably going to re-purchase the Moto X or get an HTC One m9. Apple's cloud and software offerings are light years behind what I was used to with Android. Apple Maps, iCloud Drive, Photos, Siri, Safari, ALL of these things pale in comparison to their Google / Android counterparts. I initially TRIED to go all in with Apple, but found myself downloading the Google Apps, one by one. I'm glad that I can download the Google Apps on the my iPhone but I miss the deep OS level integration that I got with Android.
  • Hey Rene, you stated that "every advantage comes with it an equal and opposite disadvantage." Can you please elaborate on the disadvantages that come with being deeply immersed in the Apple ecosystem? You said it yourself. With every advantage comes a disadvantage. Please elaborate in regards to Apple. Thank you.
  • Don't expect a reply from him...
  • You just get it, buddy. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • The biggest downside to being deeply integrated with Apple is that it doesn't work anywhere else. Google and Microsoft are basically cross platform, but Apple isn't. Sent from the iMore App
  • Reading the comments all I can think of is a child having a tantrum. Yes, logged in or not any data you send over a Google app is collected by Google. The software on Apple's products is not open sourced. Access to user data on these products is limited in some cases and not permitted in others. Google can't just scoop up whatever data they want. That is why Rene can say it's a more secure experience.
  • Not very comment on here is like a child having a tantrum, some good points where made by the commenters. It comes down to if you don't like Google having your data use something else (choice is good) but be aware even though some people don't want Google having their data is it really better with alternative services ? Is it safer if there is a breach ? Just stuff to think about.
  • Nice one Rene!! Sent from the iMore App
  • Yep whatever you think about him he does get people commenting !
  • pitting android against iphone always gets commenting even if a 5 year old wrote the article ....its just sad that in case of Rene, its always about how ridiculous or inaccurate his anti-android/samsung comments are rather than having a robust discussion
  • If you don't like what Rene posts, then go troll somewhere else. EVERY comment that you have made on any of Rene's articles has been nothing but negative, trollish remarks.
  • That' because I only comment on articles that are so obviously pointless, ridiculous and screaming "i have nothing informative to write so ill just write some crap to aggrevate other platforms so they come and comment"..if an article is actually well written and backed up by actual facts rather than personal bias, it speaks for itself, i won't need to give it a pep talk or try to blindly defend it like you do...if the likes of me don't point out Rene's waste-of-time articles, fan boys like you definitely won't.
  • What calendar app is that?
  • Yep... Google calendar Posted via the Android iMore App!