Replicating habitual smartphone behaviours: 2009-2018

We recently collected more smartphone usage data to test if pen and paper scales could predict behaviour (they didn't). However, in the process we managed to replicate some of our previous results from 2015.

Specifically, the average number of smartphone pick-ups per day remains remarkably similar across both samples despite using different software and smartphone operating systems to quantify these behaviours.

These results therefore cast some doubt over the idea that Android and iPhone users differ in their usage behaviours (we previously observed some demographic and personality differences between these two groups).

Mean number of pick-ups from 2015 sample: 84.68 (SD=55.23).

Mean number of pick-ups from 2018 sample: 85.44 (SD=53.34).

It's worth remembering that our results in 2015 were already comparable with data collected by others in 2009!

The idea that people are using their phones more doesn't really hold up to scrutiny. 

In terms of total hours usage, this did differ somewhat between the two samples with a more youthful sample in 2015 averaging 5.05 hours a day (SD=2.73). Fast forward to 2018 and this dropped to 3.9 hours (SD=1.99).

Finally, while we can't be sure, it looks like Apple might be using a very similar feature of the operating system that is freely available within Android devices to record and store usage data. 


  1. Interesting consistency in average smartphone usage 2009-2015-2018

    Thanks for sharing David

    Are some people picking up more ? (Upper band and outliers? )
    Are there any demographic or personality differences in overall usage?

    Would love to hear more, Frances


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