Time Distribution of iPhone and iPad App Use Strikingly Similar Throughout the Day

Flurry-Time-Allocation-iPhone-iPad-Use-Aug2013When it comes to mobile device use, the prevailing wisdom is that tablets are mostly used at home, while smartphones are more often used on-the-go. Still, various pieces of research of late have suggested that the majority of smartphone use takes place in the home. Now, a new study from Flurry indicates that, at least when it comes to application usage, iPhones and iPads show a surprisingly similar distribution of time spent during the day, with consumption rising gradually in the morning hours before peaking in the evening.

The researchers believe the similarities could be a result of “varied lifestyles.” Separately, the study breaks down the share of iOS devices by persona, showing, for example, that new mothers are more likely to be using iPhones than iPads, while the opposite is true for small business owners. As a result, new mothers might be found using apps at home during the day, while small business owners might be heavily using their iPads during work hours.

An alternative explanation might be that while smartphones are more apt to be used on-the-go, workers toting them to the office during business hours are less likely to be engaging with apps (such as video) for significant lengths of time during those hours than when they get home.

Overall, iPad owners in the sample spent 42% more time in apps than iPhone owners, although that result varied significantly by app category. For example, iPhone owners spent far more time in navigation, health and fitness, and photo and video apps than iPad owners, but less time in education and gaming apps.

In a follow-up study, Flurry shows that Android phone and tablet app consumption patterns also are fairly consistent throughout the day, and that Android tablet owners spent 64% more time in applications than Android smartphone owners during the May sample period.

Other Findings:

  • The sample of Apple devices showed that 72% were iPhones and 28% iPads (iPods were excluded from the analysis). The sample of Android devices showed a greater skew towards smartphones, at 88% share.
  • Among Samsung devices, the skew towards smartphones was even higher, at 91%.
  • Looking at different personas, “Avid Runners,” “Hip Urban Lifestylers,” and “Singles” showed the greatest skew towards use of Android smartphones rather than tablets.

About the Data: Flurry’s iOS analysis is based on usage during May of a random sample of 44,295 devices (iPhone and iPad only; iPod Touch was not included). The Android analysis is based on a May sample of 45,340 devices.