Which Apps and Companies Occupy Your Phone's Home Screen?

A new survey finds that the default apps stay at home and social networks might not matter so much.

How carefully is your phone's home screen arranged? In folders? By color? To find out, BTIG looked at roughly 300 home screen submissions--nearly all of them iOS--to catch the emerging trends and see which apps and companies are most common.

To get a feel of smartphone users' most important apps, the firm looked only at home screens that did not include folders, positing that users want to access their most used apps with just a single tap of their fingers.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

Default apps stay at home

The apps that come preloaded on smartphones tend to stay on the home screen. Of the 255 iOS home screen submissions, 97% kept the Phone on the home screen, 96% kept Messages, 93% kept the default Mail app, 85% had Calendar, 82% had Settings, and 81% had Safari. While apps like Phone and Messages seem vital to have on hand at a moment's notice, some of these other apps' "popularity" may stem from the fact that Apple and iOS won't let users delete them without going through lengthy measures.

Google Maps is still the authority

Though iOS users have to take the extra step to download Google Maps and the default navigation system runs through Apple's own Maps app, Google Maps is still the leader. Google Maps stationed itself on 47% (120 home screens) compared to Apple's 39% (100)--perhaps due to the awful rollout of Apple Maps back in 2012. On a larger basis, mapping is a key feature for users--75% of iOS users and 61% of Android users had at least one mapping app on their home screen.

Not so social or newsy

Social networks have saturated everyday life, but haven't saturated smartphones just yet. Just 30% of respondents had Facebook on their home screen and 20% had Twitter (11% had both). Or maybe Twitter and Facebook simply aren't as popular as we think. The same goes for news. Just 35% (89 people) of users have Apple's Newsstand app on their home screen; high-profile news organizations like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal lack a presence there due to Apple forcing their apps to reside within the Newsstand app. The next most popular news app was Bloomberg with 58% across both iOS and Android.

People like the weather and browsing the Internet

Almost every user has a browser or a weather app on their home screen. Ninety-three percent of users have a browser on their home screen, with Safari leading the way on iOS with 80% of the share and Chrome bringing in a 20% chunk--notably, 75% of users with Chrome on their home screen did not have Safari, pointing to the growth of Chrome as many users' default browser.

What's on your phone's home screen? Tell us below.

[Image: Flickr user Kārlis Dambrāns]

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1 Comments

  • By discounting home screens with folders you have likely eliminated "power users" from your sample population and skewed your results/conclusions. I know very few smart phone users that don't have at least two to four folders on their home screen. The ones who don't are older and rarely use their smart phone as anything but a phone. For example, I have all of my apps on my home screen saved in folders (less three that I "need" immediate access to). The apps I have/use are a solid measure of those in the 30-39 age group. But my screen would have been eliminated from the framing because I use folders.

    Interesting study all the same.