Case Studies

The Battle for the iOS Homescreen

By February 25, 2014 March 17th, 2015 No Comments

App maker Betaworks recently asked their Twitter followers to send screenshots of their phone’s homescreen. They received over 1,000 responses and have released the data they culled from the results. Some really fascinating trends immerged and it paints a picture as to how people actually use their smartphone.

There’s a lot of interesting information in the report, but some of the big takeaways:

  • It’s staggering how big a gap there is between the giants of the Mobile industry and the merely really big ones. For example, Facebook, Twitter and Google each appear on at about 70% of screens or more. After that, no one is above the 20s.
  • The trend for phone calling looks grim. It’s becoming apparent that people don’t think of their phone as a phone anymore–nearly 15% of people bury the phone app on a second or third screen.
  • If Microsoft is really planning to shift its plans and become a service company, it is in desperate need of a foothold on iOS. The software giant is on 0% homescreens. None.

Some more interesting tidbits:

In case Facebook’s $19 Billion purchase of WhatsApp wasn’t proof enough, messaging is really big. 89% of people keep a messaging app on their homescreen–compared to 86% who keep the phone app there. To put this another way, 14% of people don’t view phone calls important enough to put access to it on their homescreen. Breakdown of Messaging Apps:

  • iMessage: 89%
  • Facebook Messenger: 14%
  • WhatsApp: 12%
  • Snapchat: 11%
  • Path: 5%

Browsers are hugely important. In fact, 7% of people view it as so important that they keep more than one browser on their homescreen.

  • Safari: 65%
  • Chrome: 18%
  • Opera Mini: 0.5%

Apple bundles every iPhone with a number of default apps–they come with every phone, they can’t be removed and they are allowed more capabilities than those made by third party developers. However, people are abandoning those apps in ever increasing numbers.

  • 65% of people with a podcasting app on their homescreen use one NOT made by Apple.
  • 57% use non-Apple task apps.
  • 54% use an alternate Mapping solution.
  • 50% have an email app not made by Apple.
  • 46% use a non-Apple Calendar.
  • 44% a non-Apple Weather app.

When you consider individual companies that dominate smartphones, it becomes clear just HOW big a lead they have on the competition. For example:

  • Facebook appears on 68.6% of all iPhone homescreens. That number jumps to 81% if you include their recent acquisition, WhatsApp.
  • Google appears on 62% of all Apple homescreens (Maps: 42%, Chrome: 18%, YouTube: 17%, Google+: 8%)
  • Twitter is on a whopping 85.5% of homescreens.
  • Yahoo is on about 25%
  • Evernote: 24%
  • Foursquare: 23%
  • Dropbox: 16%
  • Microsoft: 0.0% (unless you count Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, but isn’t branded as a Microsoft app. Skype appears on 11.5% of homescreens).

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