What I Use My Phone For

Bijan asked me about this in the hallway chat I did with him and Nabeel last week. 

According to my battery usage data (which may be a bad proxy for usage), I use my phone for:

  1. Gmail
  2. Soundcloud
  3. Chrome 
  4. iMessage
  5. Swarm
  6. Twitter
  7. Phone (voice)
  8. Foursquare
  9. Google Now
  10. Kik

I wrote this post on my phone too


Comments (Archived):

  1. obarthelemy

    Mine:1- RSS reader (gReader+Feedly, both triaging news and in-app reading, 50% of my usage)2- reading online books, manuals and long-form (Opera)3- Music (N7 Player)4- Browsing (Browser and Chrome)5- Messaging (texts, Skype, Hangout, Whatsapp, Mail)6- abooks (MortPlayer Audio Books)7- Playing (Clash of Clans, Belote, Reversi)8- Calling9- Watching videos (during long trips only)

    1. Vasudev Ram

      >- Music (N7 Player)As in Nokia N7 phone, or some other meaning? Asking because I’m interested in that model and also the N900.

  2. kirklove

    And whack door unlocking

    1. fredwilson


  3. Pranay Srinivasan

    are those battery usage stats signify that you let these apps use your location in the background and/or data services as well? I was surprised at how many apps that seemingly dont need location actually track location as a default.

    1. Vasudev Ram

      Many Android apps require permissions they probably don’t need. This has been an issue since the early days of Android. Might have become more fine-grained since I last checked, but it was a bad state of affairs then. Many tech people have commented on it. Surprising, really. Google should have been on top of this earlier, and fixed it.

  4. LIAD

    Messaging. Browsing. Media Consumption.Effectively the 3 core mobile food groups.Whilst the specific apps may differ, I’m sure all of us here hit exactly the same top 3 categories.With business tools, wellbeing and gaming probably coming in 4-6

    1. Chimpwithcans

      personal finance is on my list too

      1. Reddy_s

        Personal finance comes under ‘Business tools’ group . It is your ‘Personal’ Business tool instead of JOB/Employer Business tool ( like Google Docs , MS Office etc ..)

    2. Reddy_s

      LIAD , well said . Here is mineMobile food groups: what you use your Mobile phone for. 1/ Media consumption ( Blog reading 80%, Music/Videos ) — first 3 Primary group2/ Messaging3/ Browsing4/ Business tools ( google docs , word etc.) — next 3 Secondary group5/ Wellbeing6/ Gaming

  5. LE

    1. Reading email (never writing email ever)2. Taking Pictures and Videos3. Reading the news4. Location directions etc5. Web browsing (similar to #3)6. Facetime/text message etc.And some apps. But not many.

  6. jason wright

    is this a ‘you show me yours and i’ll show you mine’ deal?

    1. fredwilson

      it can be

      1. jason wright

        do i have to buy an iphone to participate?

  7. markbarrington

    From battery usage mine is1 Twitter2 Overcast – podcast3 Snapchat – with the family4 iMessage5 Mail6 Facebook7 Instagram8 Health9 SiriI would have guessed that Google Maps would have been on the list

  8. quiksliver

    Is there an easy way to measure this or did you do it by hand?

    1. markbarrington

      Look at Settings – Battery

  9. Joe Lazarus

    If you tap the little clock icon next to the battery usage list in iOS, the list will split out background usage vs on-screen usage. The on-screen stats are more reflective of what you use vs battery hogs (like Moves in my case).

    1. fredwilson


  10. William Mougayar

    I’m pretty close to yours, except Add Google Docs, Sheets and Facebook.

  11. Nicholas Osgood

    iMessage: 28%FB: 16%Gmail: 9%Slack: 8%Phone: 7%Home & Lock Screen: 7%Instagram: 4%Twitter: 3%

  12. Matt Zagaja

    Past 24 hours:1. New York Times VR2. Facebook3. Safari4. Mail5. Tweetbot6. Snapchat7. Podcasts8. Messages9. Slack10. Coffitivity

  13. Steve Poland

    I can’t get out of my head that “the killer app” for the Apple Watch is that it reduces distraction every time you look at your phone. I gave up my Apple Watch before realizing this. And now looking at my usage patterns, it proves how much I look at my notifications screen. PS $TWTR FTW

    1. Matt Zagaja

      Now my 2016 Apple Watch usage graph.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Can’t wait to get my Apple Ring. It notifies me when my Apple Watch changes moods.

        1. jason wright

          i hear they have a nose ring in the works

          1. JimHirshfield

            snot true

    2. ShanaC


    3. Lawrence Brass

      Patience, young grasshoppers.. the Apple Watch is..

      1. JimHirshfield

        Whoa, actually cool!

        1. Lawrence Brass

          Do we have a conversion? :)Apple should pay me for this.

          1. JimHirshfield

            Nope. Sorry.

    4. Donna Brewington White

      Actually adding watches back to my wardrobe for this very reason.

    5. Techman

      Something tells me that you might find an interest in smart watches.

  14. ErikSchwartz

    Yeah, battery is not a good proxy. Streaming media, video decoding, and VR are going to be way more battery intensive than browsing and email. Voice has dedicated hardware.

  15. ppearlman


  16. Jaikant Kumaran

    1. Gaana (Music Streaming App -Which sucks battery)2. Phone3. Facebook4. Twitter5. Mail6. Messages7. Siri8. Safari9. WhatsApp 10. FB Messenger

  17. Ro Gupta

    Have wanted a native way to sort apps by usage for a while. Seems pretty basic. Maybe Apple worries that would narrow the range of app usage even further.

  18. Pointsandfigures

    Mail swarm maps instagram facebook and pegg But I am traveling When I am on Twitter lately I am not on my phone

  19. Pointsandfigures

    I am getting sick of texting in long threads Distracting Would rather have a 3min conversation Tried Kik but really didnt see it as advantageous over regular texting for what I do-not to mention all the SPAM I get on it my kids snapchat like crazy but it takes too much time for me

  20. Mario Cantin

    You didn’t catch the Snapchat bug then, Fred. A little surprising.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Maybe that is #11 on the list.

  21. Susan Rubinsky

    There are a bunch of thing I *used* to use my phone for but too many app developers have removed features that have now forced me back to lugging my laptop around. Because I manage a great deal of social media accounts for my clients, I used to LOVE my Droid. However, Facebook has removed features from the app that are now only available from a computer. Annoying. Serious loss of freedom for me. I find that I am always running home, if I forget to bring my laptop, to do things like remove posts by trolls on business pages when in the past I was able to do it from my phone.Aside from that, my usage is:1.) Email (Google)2.) Calendar (Google)3.) Text message (mine is backed up into my Google account)4.) Photography (LOVE the camera on the Note 4; this also auto backs up to my Google account)4.) News (have several feeds: NYT, Washington Post, LA Times, etc.)5.) Facebook6.) Twitter7.) Chrome8.) OKC/Tinder9) Maps/Directions/Navigation (Google mainly, but sometimes Waze)10.) Sonos/Netflix (I use these about equally)

    1. obarthelemy

      I bought a $80 Chinese dual-boot tablet (Android + Windows) just so I’d be free of The Laptop for such small tasks. Won’t break any records for looks and quality (nor battery life, sound, wifi) but it does the job, takes no room, and costs nothing. And also runs Android, which is much nicer than Windows most of the time (apps! games! UI!).Techtablets.com ( http://techtablets.com/2016… ) which is the only site doing extensive and independent reviews of Chinese tablets currently recommend the Chuwi Vi8 plus : http://www.geekbuying.com/i… ). Windows-only for now. Geekbuying is a legit site, they even fixed a phone for me once (took 2 months and 1/4th the price of the phone in shipping, but still… )

      1. Susan Rubinsky

        Wow. Cool. Thanks for the info! I am on windows so this may be a fit. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

  22. kenberger

    Can’t imagine that GMaps, and Camera, isn’t up near the top of most anyone’s real usage list among this readership.And FB would appear too, but only if a lie detector were involved 🙂

  23. Dan Conway

    ATT’s unlimited data and travel a ton. Waze is top 3 even though all battery usage data in the car is whacked because a lot of time you’re charging/not using the battery.How does battery usage data behavoir change with those grandfathered into ATT’s unlimited data plan vs. those with limited data plans?Nineteen year daughter’s top five:SpotifyMessagesSafariHome and Lock ScreenSnapchatSixteen year old’s daughter’s:SnapchatInstagramMessagesSpotifySafari

  24. Semil Shah

    Here’s my 7-day iOS by time/hours.

  25. Chris Phenner

    Feels like a crowd-sourced analytics service waiting to happen (oh, it is happening)…

  26. ShanaC

    Bad proxy

  27. Richard

    Periscope Twitter YouTubeWebcastsSearch Music Podcasts Native Web Shopping

  28. dangen11

    ChromeFeedlyGoogle HangoutsGoogle VoiceGoogle MapsWazeIngressGoogle DriveGoogle DocsGoogle Play Music

  29. Chimpwithcans

    Are you back on the iphone now @fredwilson:disqus? Given up on the Nexus’?