A Large-Scale, Long-Term Analysis of Mobile Device Usage Characteristics

TitleA Large-Scale, Long-Term Analysis of Mobile Device Usage Characteristics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsHintze, D., Hintze P., Findling R. Dieter, & Mayrhofer R.
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies
Date Published06/2017
Type of ArticleResearch article
KeywordsDaily interactions, Device unlocking, Locked usage, Session length, Smartphone, Tablet, Usage session, User context

Today, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have become an indispensable part of people’s lives, posing many new questions e.g., in terms of interaction methods, but also security. In this paper, we conduct a large scale, long term analysis of mobile device usage characteristics like session length, interaction frequency, and daily usage in locked and unlocked state with respect to location context and diurnal pattern. Based on detailed logs from 29,279 mobile phones and tablets representing a total of 5,811 years of usage time, we identify and analyze 52.2 million usage sessions with some participants providing data for more than four years. Our results show that context has a highly significant effect on both frequency and extent of mobile device usage, with mobile phones being used twice as much at home compared to in the office. Interestingly, devices are unlocked for only 46% of the interactions. We found that with an average of 60 interactions per day, smartphones are used almost thrice as often as tablet devices (23), while usage sessions on tablets are three times longer, hence are used almost for an equal amount of time throughout the day. We conclude that usage session characteristics differ considerably between tablets and smartphones. These results inform future approaches to mobile interaction as well as security.

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