My Phone Use Data
In 2015, Joost Plattel was very bad at keeping his phone with him at all times, so he started to track his phone use for a year with Moments. Our phones can store data on many things including how much we use them. In this video, he shares what he learned from his phone use data.
Journal | Moments
Hi I’m Joost. I want to go back to 2015 when I was notoriously bad at this thing. Most of you were here yesterday when we talked about phone tracking, so that’s what I did.
I was notoriously bad. I was keeping the phone with me at all times. My girlfriend was complaining about it. I was complaining about it myself but I couldn’t help myself so I figured, well, let’s start tracking so that’s what I did. I installed Moments, just like most of you did yesterday and in 2015 I tracked a whole year.
It’s about the easiest way of tracking you can do, except I actually forgot I had it setup so it’s not as biased as I thought it would be. I used Jupiter notebooks to analyze most of my data, so at the end you will find a link where you can find the notebook so you can do your own experiments if you want to. I want to share a few things about quantity first that I learned.
So there’s going to be some big numbers here, so I’m going to try to drill it down. So in 2015, I picked up my phone over 25,000 times and I figured, well that’s a lot. Well how much is that per day, and that’s actually 64 per day and I though well all right. The picking it up is just picking it up, how many minutes did I use it?
I used my phone for more than 42,000 minutes. That’s about seven days total in a year that I spend on my phone. It’s a week, or 74 minutes per day. That’s a lot. I thought it was a lot, my girlfriend thought it was a lot so I had to reduce it.
I did some interventions and one of the first things that I did was graphing it just over the course of the year. The blue ones is the minutes and the red one is pickup. You can actually see during the wintertime I tend to be on my phone more often than I do during the summertime. So summer is probably better for me.
There’s some interesting things that you might notice on this graph I didn’t with any moving averages here but oh well. One of the other things that I was curious about whether I was using it over the course of a week, so this is a library called Kelmet and you can actually make it like a calendar map, so every column is a week and you can actually see that it’s quite obvious that during the summertime I use my phone less often which is a good thing. And you can see which days are pretty much highlighted. And I though well maybe there’s like during the weekends do I use my phone less – not necessarily.
So next step, software Temporality or work for time, I figured how long do I use my phone and what’s the most things I interact with. And one of the first things that I did was just graphing a histogram of how often or how long I use my phone. And there’s an interesting peak, and it took me about five minutes to figure out why there’s a peak at 120 minutes. It turns out it is because my phone auto locks on two minutes, so that’s 120 seconds. So Moments isn’t that accurate on tracking your phone usage, but like you end up with those peaks that’s fine.
So month of the year, every bar is a month. I didn’t label the y-axis, that’s a shame.
On average, how much time did I spend on my phone every month, and let’s just drop I n October, and what I did is I changed something. And what I did was I removed all social media from my phone. I de-installed all the apps and then I got like this drop. But the funny thing is is it only works for one month because it was backup right. You know why? I found out on Chrome you can actually pin the apps on your home screen. So in the end I was like I uninstalled Facebook but I found it again through Chrome browser, so it’s a temporary workaround. It’s a shame. It didn’t work. I had to fool myself better I guess.
So on Sundays I don’t use my phone at all which is a good thing it turns out. And I also wondered during which time of the day do I use the phone. So most of the times when I get home I just put my phone in the charger and leave it, so you see a sharp drop off about nine o’clock in the evening when I mostly put it on the charger, and always set an alarm and leave it over there, and that’s actually what you can see increasing.
Which minute of the hour do I use my phone, and you might ask why should you do such a thing because that’s not really useful. But there’s a peak at 36 minutes and there’s this thing that I do for the past six years, which is taking a picture every day at 8:36 pm. It turns out you can actually see that back in the data which is fun. I didn’t expect that to happen.
The last thing that you can do with Moments, if you allowed it, it actually tracks your GPS location as well, so if you didn’t notice it you might do now. So one of the things that I did was make a heatmap of where I’ve been in the Netherlands. I didn’t graph it on Google map because it took me so little time and I just started analyzing the data on Friday night.
So this is actually pretty amazing. You can see like a travel history of me going all through public transport. And one of the other things that I want to explore more is derivability, so how can I like use this phone data which is like observed pretty much auto automatically and use it to predict like sleep or mood.