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iOS users spend 20% more of their time using apps compared to Android users

A new report suggests that Android users spend less time using apps than iOS users - as much as 20 percent less time. Is that true and if so, why?
June 7, 2013
flurry-total time in apps on android
Since Android is winning the race for device market share, analysts and CEOs alike have turned their attention to other aspects of the battle between iOS and Android. There are of course a whole range of different ways to measure market share and user satisfaction including looking at market share in different countries, across different demographics and according to the relative wealth of the purchasers. Another way is to look at how much people use their smartphone or tablet. New data from Flurry suggests that Android users spend less time using apps than iOS users.

According to the raw numbers there are about 10 percent more active Android devices in use around the world than iOS devices. That is a significant number and it looks like this trend is likely to continue. At the recent All Things D conference Apple’s CEO Tim Cook spoke on stage with Walt Mossberg and naturally the issue of Android came up. Since Cook couldn’t deny the numbers his attention turned to how much time people spend using apps on their iOS devices. According to Tim Cook and the new Flurry report Android users spend 20 percent less time using apps on their devices compared to iOS users.

[quote qtext=”In spite of Android’s rapid rise and current lead in device market share, iOS continues to lead in terms of time spent in apps.” qperson=”Mary Ellen Gordon of Flurry” qsource=”” qposition=”left”]

This hasn’t always been the case. Back in 2009 Android was an unknown force lurking in the shadows and as a result iOS app usage was vastly greater than app usage on Android. By 2011 Android was gaining rapidly on iOS but the total time Android users spend using apps was still 50 percent less than for iOS users. However once Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was released and Android tablets started to make an impact, Android app usage was just 5 percent less than that of iOS. But since then the total time spent in apps has decreased steadily to its current 20% difference. Flurry suggests that the release of the iPad 3 had a big part to play in this.

So what are the reasons for this? One reason could be that Android phones are becoming so prevalent that many users are switching from feature phones to Android smartphones but actually they don’t want/need/know about the smartphone features and so spend less time in apps but more time using the phone as just a simple phone.

Another possibility is that the total user experience for some Android devices isn’t very high. It is still possible to get Android 2.2 and Android 2.3 phones for free on a contract both in the USA and in Europe. Android 2.x was great, but it is now old and Android has moved on. The truth is that no one would recommend an Android 2.x based phone to a friend today. This means that these buyers will join the Android community with a lesser overall experience.

What do you think? Have you tried iOS and Android, did you spend more time using apps on iOS or is this data just plain wrong? Let me know by leaving a comment below.