What do your Apps say about You?

With the release of the iPhone 6, I was looking at my iPhone 5 wondering if I should upgrade and noticed all my apps and thought “Boy, I have a lot of apps”. But do I? Being the curious person that I am, I decided to do some research to see how I compared to the masses. Do I have more or less? Do I use certain categories of apps more or less? And even more importantly, do my apps say anything about me?

My research included using various sources to find as much relevant and current information on apps that I could. I then analyzed my own apps -- how many I had, what apps I had and how often I use, or don’t use -- to compare to general app usage. Once I completed this, I reviewed the findings to see what my apps said out me, if anything. Here’s an interesting (at least I think it’s interesting) look into what I found.

General Smart Phone App Usage

Did you know?

- The avg. person checks their phone every 6.5 minutes or 150 times/day. For the high frequency user (this must mean my teenage nieces and nephews who I seldom hear speak), during peak times (5PM-8PM), they check their phones once every 6 seconds.

- On average, US tablet and smartphone app users spend 127 minutes/day on apps. To put this in context, the avg. American watches 168 minutes of TV daily so while app usage has not caught up to TV usage yet, it soon will (I find this astonishing).

- The average global smartphone user has installed 26.2 apps on their phone with South Korea users installing the most apps (40.1). The US user, on average, has installed 32.8 apps.

- The top smartphone app categories by time by person:

  • Search, Portals and social (35%)

  • Entertainment/Gaming (34%)

  • Communication (12%)

  • Productivity (7%)

  • Commerce/Shopping (4.5%)

  • News (4.5%)

  • Travel (4%)

  • Lifestyle (4%)

  • Photography (3.5%)

  • Finance (1%)

- Top 5 Global Apps: Google Maps, Facebook, YouTube, Google +, WeChat

- Top 5 US Apps: Facebook, YouTube, Google Play, Google Search, Pandora

My App Usage

- I have 107 total apps, of which I downloaded 78 that were not already on my phone (e.g. mail, clock, calculator, etc.)

- 45 apps or 42% I use regularly (this means daily for me)

- My apps are categorized into 19 folders:

  1. Social (10): facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, StumbleUpon, SlideShare, Medium

  2. Travel (10): Passbook, Southwest, United, American, US Airways, Tripcase, Translate, Convert, Hotel Tonight, Home Away

  3. Taxi/Directions (9): Uber, VZ Navigator, Hail, Taxicab, Maps, Google Maps, Parker, Moovit, Hopstop

  4. Entertainment (8): Videos, Audible, IBooks, YouTube, Fandango, Vimeo, Podcasts, Duolingo

  5. Productivity (8): AnyDo, Notes, Reminders, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google Docs, Calendar, Scan Bizcards

  6. Lifestyle (7): Urban Spoon, Happier, Bonfyre, Trunk Club, Yelp, Corkbin, BMW Remote

  7. Health (6): Aetna, Fitbit, RoadID, Map My Ride, Strava, BaseNJ (my health club)

  8. Games (6): Lumosity, Words with Friends, Solitaire, Gamecenter, Hangman, Blackjack

  9. Utilities (6): Clock, Compass, Calculator, Voice Memo, LED Light, Backup Assist

10. Communication (6): Email, Phone, Mail, Contacts, Messenger, Messages

11. Business (5): LinkedIn Jobs, Switch, Club Industry, Good Company, Gallup

12. Photography (4): Camera, Photos, Flickr, Camscanner

13. Sports (4): Bleacher Report, ESPN Fantasy Football, ESPN Sportscenter, My Fantasy Guru

14. News (4): Newsstand, Flipboard, Pocket, Huffington Post

15. Finance (4): Stocks, Chase, American Express, Realtor.com

16. Music (3): Pandora, Music, iTunes Store

17. Pets (3): Dog Friendly, Pet Friendly, Presence

18. Apple (3): App Store, Find Phone, Settings

19. Weather (1): Weather

- My most used categories:

  1. Social Networking

  2. Communication

  3. Productivity

  4. News

  5. Sports

  6. Games

  7. Travel (this is higher up the list when I’m traveling more frequently)

- My least used categories:

  1. Business

  2. Pets

  3. Music

- My favorite apps (not necessarily the most used):

  • Anydo is a task management app that I use every day to keep me productive.

  • LinkedIn/Twitter/facebook – LinkedIn and Twitter are must have’s to be social in today’s business climate and facebook is great for seeing pics of family and friends and for hearing from friends you haven’t heard from in 25 years (whether you want to or not).

  • Maps, and particularly Directions, is a must have for driving today. Even though I do know how to read a map, I’m so glad I don’t have to as much and I can rely on my phone to tell me where to go (I swear the voice gets mad at me when I make wrong turns).

  • Airline Apps - I absolutely love these because the ease of downloading boarding passes and changing seats saves me lots of time and waiting in long lines.

  • Corkbin - If you’ve even been out to dinner and had a great wine and then went home and totally forgot the name of the wine you promised yourself you’d remember, get this app. You can take a picture of the label so you don’t have to remember the name and the it shows you where to buy the wine near you as well as give you meal wine pairings. Brilliant.

  • Trunk Club is awesome for any guy who needs/wants a personal stylist to make clothes recommendations. And if you’re in the Chicago area (River North), make an appointment to meet a stylist at their offices. They have a full bar so I can’t think of a better combination of relaxing while someone shops for you.

  • Urban Spoon and Yelp are great if you like getting recommendations and reviews before you visit/hire/try something.

  • RoadID - For anyone out there who exercises alone (e.g. biking or running), this app is a must-have. It’s a bracelet you wear on your wrist that in the event you get hurt (and cannot speak), directs people to a private web site where they can access all your medical information. I wear it all the time now.

  • Strava is a new competitor to MapMyRide/Run that tracks your exercise when you’re cycling or running and while I like both, I like Strava better as the interface is easier to use.

  • Pocket allows you to store for later reading articles you’ve come across on the web that you like but don’t have time to read then.

  • Duolingo - If you’re interested in learning a new language or brushing up, download this app. It’s easy and really intuitive. De Nada.


Having downloaded 198% more apps than the avg. global user, I have a lot more apps. And it appears I regularly use more apps (45) than most people even download. I’m not a gamer so with my productivity apps used much more than my gaming apps, it says I’m a productivity nerd vs. a gaming nerd. In my unofficial tracking of my app usage, I do watch more TV, but the gap is getting smaller, particularly with me watching more shows on my iPad. And if I update to the iPhone 6 with the larger screen, the gap may get even smaller if I start watching TV on my phone (I can’t believe I actually said that). Being a sports guy, I thought I’d have more sports apps than I do but to be honest, I’ve not seen a lot of differentiation between sports apps and many of them have way too many commercials (it’s annoying).

So what does all this mean? Am I more curious than average? Sure, it’s one of my key values, as I like learning new things. Am I more of a techie than average? I don’t think so. It means that I love apps. I enjoy downloading and experimenting and looking for ways to be more productive as this feeds my achiever strength. My apps provide value as they make my life easier and save me time, which is what I expect from most of them (can’t really say that about Words with Friends or Blackjack but sometimes you just need to relax and have fun). And if they make me productive and efficient that I can spend more time doing things I love to do, that’s a win-win in my book.

But what this really means is that I’ve embraced technology as a way to make my life better. Technology today is so innovative and fast-paced but also simple and intuitive that you can’t help but embrace it. If someone told me 15 years ago that in 2014 I’d be using a personal stylist app to help me shop or that I’d be participating in Twitter chats as a way to network for business, I’d have had them committed. But that’s my life today and I look forward to more innovation (and more apps) to make my life even better.

So what do your apps say about you? Please share some of your favorites so I have more apps to play with.

Sources: Business Insider, AFP Relax News, Nielsen Smartphone Report, Network World, Quartz, And Global Web Index