Security on the side of iOS: iPhone owners are more likely to use the secure device unlock option

24 August 2021

One of the cybersecurity tools is authentication when unlocking a smartphone using a fingerprint, password, pattern, face, retina, etc. Two-thirds of smartphone owners in Russia use this protection system, and more often this is done by iOS device owners and those who actively uses instant messengers and banking applications (regardless of the operating system of the device). This is evidenced by the results of a study by the NAFI Analytical Center*.


According to the all-Russian representative survey, which involved 1,600 people from 53 regions of the country, 70% of Russians own smartphones. Most often they are used by people aged 18-34 (94%), as well as residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg (81%). The proportion of smartphone owners is lower among rural residents (64%) and respondents aged 60 and over (36%).

The Android operating system is much more common in Russia than iOS (80% versus 16% of users, respectively). The share of users of devices on iOS is higher among young people under 35 years old (25%), and on Android OS - among people 35-44 years old (89%) and men (85% versus 77% among women).

Two-thirds of smartphone owners (66%) use various authentication methods when unlocking their smartphone to protect their data on it. Most often, Russians use fingerprint unlock (38%), password or code (32%) and pattern (18%; see Table 4 for details).

Unlock authentication (by code, password, fingerprint, etc.) is more often used by iOS device owners (88% versus 62% among Android device owners, respectively). Fans of smartphones on iOS and Android also differ in their preferred authentication methods - for example, the former are 8 times more likely to use facial recognition to unlock the gadget, which is due to the lack of a fingerprint scanner in most of the company's smartphones released in recent years.

Authentication when unlocking a smartphone is less popular among Russians aged 60 and older (the option is disabled in 59%) and women (disabled in 39% versus 27% among men).

Russians protect personal data, financial information and personal correspondence. Unlock authentication is most often used by those smartphone owners who actively use instant messengers and banking applications. Less often than others are users of applications for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and booking travel.

Although most smartphone owners pay attention to cybersecurity, in general, the question of who and how should protect personal data in the digital environment remains acute. A recent NAFI study showed that 81% of Russians shift the responsibility for the safety of their personal information to others**. Most often, they blame the owners of sites where this data was left, service providers or the state for data leaks.

Timur Aimaletdinov, Deputy General Director of the NAFI Analytical Center:

“Issues of cyber hygiene underlie the digital literacy of a modern person. And blocking a mobile device is a great indicator of people's attitudes towards protecting their data. Their well-being increasingly depends on how Russians themselves are able to protect their personal information - and this is not only protection from fraudsters, but also the issue of creating a comfortable information environment around them that excludes intrusive advertising, manipulation, propaganda and other kinds of information deviations”.

* The All-Russian survey was conducted by the NAFI Analytical Center in May 2021. 1,600 people aged 18 and over were surveyed in 53 regions of Russia. The sample is based on official statistics from Rosstat and represents the population of the Russian Federation by sex, age, level of education, and type of settlement. The statistical error of the data does not exceed 3.4%.
* * Read more: Russians have become more afraid of identity theft on the Internet, July 30, 2021
Type of publication: Poll results

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