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Getting behind the screens

Update the iOS on your iPhone and you'll get access to a clever new feature. Screen Time allows iPhone users to better understand their own device usage.

Not only does it show you how many times you’ve picked up your phone over the past seven days but it reveals interesting insights about your app usage. Find out how long you’ve spent on each app in the past week or use the in-built graph to see how this differs day by day.

But aside from shocking you into curbing your Instagram usage, what other uses does Screen Time have? It’s an accessible new way to understand how consumers actually interact with their devices. With brands seeking to understand app usage and social media habits, we can see Screen Time being consulted as part of wider studies as a way of gaining behavioural insights on this topic.

There will, though, always be limits. Screen Time only provides a high-level view. To gain the level of granularity many brands are looking for, such as understanding the time of day consumers access particular apps or the specific content they interact with, you’d need to embark on a full-scale piece of passive tracking research.


Emma Muckersie
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, January 2019
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2019