How You Use This One Smartphone Feature Reveals Your Age, Study Shows

Lauren Gray
·2 mins read

Regardless of whether you're young at heart, there are certain habits that give away your true age. Like signing a text with your name or falling asleep at the very thought of a second glass of wine, some things just signal to the world that you're over 40 and not afraid to show it. Now, a new study reveals that there's one thing you do with your smartphone that reveals your age: using a pin number to unlock your phone rather than a fingerprint or facial recognition means you're of an older generation.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia, explored the links between age and smartphone use by remotely tracking smartphone users' habits. "As researchers working to protect smartphones from unauthorized access, we need to first understand how users use their devices," explained Konstantin Beznosov, a professor of electrical and computer engineering who supervised the research.

To collect their data, the research team recruited 134 volunteers, ranging in age from 19 to 63, and had them install a custom app to their Android phones for a period of two months. The app logged all of their lock and unlock events, including whether they opted for auto or manual lock, and the movements of the phone at the time of unlocking. This is how they discovered the generational differences in unlocking habits.

The researchers also collected data on the length of user sessions. The team found that in addition to a person's preferred method for unlocking their phones, the amount of time spent on the phone also correlated with age.

As one report on the study explains, "Analysis showed that older users used their phone less frequently than younger users. For every 10-year interval in age, there was a corresponding 25 per cent decrease in the number of user sessions. In other words, a 25-year-old might use their phone 20 times a day, but a 35-year-old might use it only 15 times."

So, if you still unlock your smartphone by hand, you can chalk it up to a generational preference. You might even take some pride in it: after all, it's no wonder young people need a handy shortcut, given how needlessly often they unlock their phones. And for cutting edge technology you can actually use, check out Amazon's Mind-Blowing New Way to Shop.