Phones have come a long way since the days of rotary dials and clunky handsets. No longer are phones impersonal lumps of metal—the smartphones of today are utterly customizable in everything from phone brand to protective cover to the everyday apps we use.
It’s no surprise, then, that our smartphones have become miniature versions of ourselves, each one a little mini-me packed with information that says so much about its owner.
So what is your phone saying about you? Let’s find out.
Over 99 percent of modern smartphones come in one of two distinct flavors: Android and iPhone. Which you choose speaks volumes to those around you.
Android phones currently make up 80.7 percent of the smartphone market, making them, by far, the most common type of phone you’ll see on the street. And according to a study from the University of Lincoln, Android users tend to be a very certain kind of person.
This study found that Android users tend to be older, more humble, agreeable, and honest, both in the eyes of others, as well as in reality. These users also tend to be older males who aren’t all that interested in social status—they “avoid manipulating others for personal gain, feel little temptation to break rules, and are uninterested in lavish wealth and luxuries, and feel no special entitlement to elevated social status.
So if you own an Android phone, you’re probably pretty down-to-earth and fairly traditional. You probably use your phone for entertainment purposes, which is how most men in the study tended to use their phones, rather than simply using them for communication. And you might just be pretty nice, as well.
If you own an iPhone, your story is a little different. The study found that iPhone users are twice as likely to be female—gender is, in fact, the strongest predictor concerning which brand is owned. Women, according to the study, tend to take more pictures, make more calls, and send more texts—all of which are markers of an iPhone user.
iPhone users are also much more likely to be younger, and to see their phone as a status symbol. They’re also less concerned with owning items that are preferred by the masses.
These people also displayed, in the study, lower levels of honesty and humility, and displayed higher levels of emotionality. They were also much more extroverted.
So if you are solidly in the iPhone camp, you’re likely to be younger, a little vain—which isn’t a bad thing—and pretty talkative
The brand of your phone, though, is only the most basic level of customization when it comes to your smartphone. Let’s keep digging to find out even more about what your phone says about you!
Nobody takes home their smartphone and leaves it looking plain and boring. We visually customize them, and those customizations speak volumes about us.
First, let’s look at cases. Once you pay hundreds of dollars for a shiny, new Android or iPhone, it’s not likely that you’re going to leave it unprotected from your inevitable butterfingers-related falls and fumbles.
The first kind of cover is the “utility” case. This is the case that’s usually clear plastic, and holds a couple of credit cards or a photo, in addition to protecting the phone. Sometimes, they even contain a supplementary battery. Usually, these are very good at what they do, and are rugged, practical, and economical, much like their users.
If you own a utility case, you’re probably not too concerned about glamour. You’re a serious person, and want something that seriously works. Those thin, designer cases just don’t cut it for you in terms of protecting your expensive investment, and their lack of extra storage space just sounds like inconvenience to you. You are always prepared, are usually the leader in any group, and may or may not frequently mutter the phrase, “Those dang kids” every few minutes.
The second kind of case you’ll see on the street is the “glittery-sparkly-happy-fun-fun case,” and it’s a tough one to miss. These users are usually the center of attention, but not because they’re vain or pushy—they’re just radiant personalities that exude a certain happy warmth that others like to cozy up to. The owner of this kind of case always looks effortlessly great, and likely has an irrepressible aura of unrepentant youth.
Third up, we have the “minimalist case in a bold, yet attractive color”. There’s nothing to complain about regarding this case—almost to an annoying extent. The color is good. The lines are clean. It not only works, but looks great, too, much like its owner. This person is likely sensible, smart, and responsible, yet still young, hip, and stylish. They probably don’t own many “things,” instead, putting more value in people and purpose, much to the jealousy of their friends and coworkers.
Fourth, we have the “expensive” case. This user decks his or her phone out in the newest, most expensive coverings imaginable. Gemstones, fine leather, and real fur abound—basically, everything that would make the utility user cringe, the expensive user uses. This person is probably the living mannequin of the group, decked out from head to toe in the best of the best, choosing to communicate their success through the language of glam.
And finally, we have those who go for the “weird case”—you know, the ones featuring Michael Cera and Nicholas Cage floating amidst fields of flying cats, unicorns, and rainbows, or the ones that are shaped like a bottle of Windex.
These people like to make a statement, and no one is quite sure what that statement is. And that’s exactly how these users like it—they’re enigmatic, constantly smirking at the humor of the world around them as they tighten their man-bun hairstyle, button up their flannel shirts, and don ironically oversized glasses. If this is your case, you don’t touch anything that’s mainstream—you prefer to cut your own path through what you feel is a culture of inauthenticity, and you’ve enlisted Nicholas Cage to help you do it.
So, we’ve gone over some of the most common cases, and what they say about you. But what about what’s actually inside your phone?
When it comes to the content of your smartphone, apps are the things that say the most about you—they’re as varied and unique as we humans are. For a quick glance into someone’s brain, all you have to do is take a look at their home screen, where their favorited apps live.
In a 2016 study using data from Verto Analytics, researchers found that they can figure out your age, gender, marital status, and income just by looking at what kinds of apps you have installed. That’s some pretty significant information! And they could do it with accuracy up to 82.3 percent.
Let’s look at what these researchers found.
For gender tendencies, if you have Pinterest, Etsy, or Cartwheel by Target, on your home screen you’re very likely to be a woman, or at least have a few feminine traits. Conversely, if you have ESPN, Geek, or Tinder, you’re overwhelmingly likely to tend toward the masculine side of life.
As far as age goes, younger users tend to have Snapchat, Perk Word Search, and Summoner’s War, and older users have various Email apps, New Words with Friends, and iHeartRadio. It’s probably no surprise that older people don’t get quite as much entertainment out of making videos of themselves as rabbits on Snapchat as younger generations do, and younger people don’t get quick as much of a kick out of the exciting multimedia adventure that is checking email.
For marital status, those who have already gotten hitched tend to have Zillow, Walmart, and Pinterest, while the singles among us tend to use Snapchat, Tinder, and OkCupid Dating. One side has dating apps, while the other side has Walmart. Seems fair.
Finally, even income can be determined by the apps you use, and those who have higher salaries use Fitbit, LinkedIn, and Redbox, while the lower earners used Job Search, Solitaire, and Prize Claw 2. The former group seems to be keen on health, networking, and saving money, and so it’s no wonder their incomes are higher than that of those who are busy playing Solitaire. And Prize Claw 2, the virtual representation of the machines that used to steal all of our lunch money when we were five? That’s probably not exactly an indicator of great financial sense.
The apps you install can be used to identify you with scary accuracy. Let others use your phone with care—they may end up knowing you better than you do.
As you can see, your phone really is your mini-me. It’s you, your likes, and your choices, all wrapped up in a little electronic package. If you’ve ever wondered who you really are, you need look no further—just take a peek at what’s on and in your phone, and you’ll get all the answers you need.
Just take care that your little you doesn't run around blabbing the wrong things to the wrong people.