Key Themes of This Report
10% of Americans own a smartphone but do not have broadband at home, and 15% own a smartphone but say that they have a limited number of options for going online other than their cell phone. Those with relatively low income and educational attainment levels, younger adults, and non-whites are especially likely to be “smartphone-dependent.”
Smartphones are widely used for navigating numerous important life activities, from researching a health condition to accessing educational resources. Lower-income and “smartphone-dependent” users are especially likely to turn to their phones for navigating job and employment resources. A majority of smartphone owners use their phone to follow along with breaking news, and to share and be informed about happenings in their local community.
Smartphones help users navigate the world around them, from turn-by-turn driving directions to assistance with public transit. This is especially true for younger users. An “experience sampling” of smartphone owners over the course of a week illustrates how young adults have deeply embedded mobile devices into the daily contours of their lives. The experience sampling survey illustrates that smartphone usage often produces feelings of productivity and happiness, but that many users also feel distracted or frustrated after mobile screen encounters.