Among all the mythical ways that iPhones are supposedly better than Samsung or LG’s products, one of the most pervasive is that the iPhones “just work.” A quality flaw with some display units gets turned into “never buy a Pixel;” a couple Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices catch fire, and people start freak–OK, actually, that one was probably justified.
But anyway, you get the point. Apple’s reputation is all about quality, ease of use, and reliability. But according to a new Mobile Device and Security report from Blancoo, a company that makes diagnostics and repair software for mobile carriers and manufacturers, that’s not the case. Their data shows that iOS and Android devices are sent in for repair at incredibly similar rates, and in North America, it’s actually Apple devices that seem to have more problems.
Across the three major markets examined, Asia, North America and Europe, the failure rate of iOS and Android devices was nearly identical. iOS was at 12.5 percent, while Android was at 14 percent, close enough that we can call it a wash. In North America, things look even better for Android, which had a failure rate of just 9 percent. iOS was at 12 percent in North America.
The data for the report is “based on internal mobile diagnostics and mobile erasure data collected from iOS and Android mobile devices that were brought into hundreds of mobile carriers and device manufacturers for diagnostics tests and mobile erasure.” The data varies significantly between region, which implies that there’s likely some major variables in how the software is used in different countries and by different organizations. Nonetheless, the report is useful for comparing between different devices in the same region, even if we can’t tell whether Americans or Europeans are more likely to be breaking their phones.
Not all iPhones and Android devices are created equal, however, and the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S continue to look like particularly bad examples of poor design. The iPhone 6 has a recorded failure rate of 26 percent and the iPhone 6S is at 14 percent, far above most other models. The more recent iPhone 7 is at 8 percent failure, while the iPhone 8 Plus is at just 2 percent (so far).