Cell Phone Usage Statistics: Mornings Are for Notifications

Alex Kerai
Jul 21, 2023
Icon Time To Read4 min read

How often do you check your phone? Right when you wake up? Every ten minutes in case you missed a notification? Well, we surveyed Americans 18 and older about their phone habits and behaviors and found that you’re not alone.

More than half of Americans (56.9%) told Reviews.org that they are addicted to their cell phone, a greater percentage than last year. But it’s not all doom and gloom—after all, you’re probably reading this on a cell phone. So scroll down and let’s check out how Americans are using their cell phones in 2023.

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  • Americans check their phones 144 times per day.
  • 89% of Americans say they check their phones within the first 10 minutes of waking up.
  • 75% of Americans feel uneasy leaving their phone at home.
  • 75% of Americans check their phones within five minutes of receiving a notification.
  • 75% use their phone on the toilet.
  • 69% have texted someone in the same room as them before.
  • 60% sleep with their phone at night
  • 57% consider themselves “addicted” to their phones
  • 55% say that they have never gone longer than 24 hours without their cell phone.
  • 47% of people say they feel a sense of panic or anxiety when their cell phone battery goes below 20%.
  • 46% use or look at their phone while on a date.
  • 27% use or look at their phone while driving.
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  • Americans spend 4 hours, 25 minutes each day on their cell phones.
  • Overall, the average American will spend over two months (65 days) on their phones in 2023.

What changed in 2023

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Many Americans changed their cell phone habits in 2023. We don’t really know why, but it seems to generally be for the better.  

  • In 2023, Americans check their phones an average of 144 times a day, a 58% decrease since our last cell phone usage survey published in January 2022.
  • Americans are driving safer — 27.1% say they use or look at their phone while driving, a 14.1% decrease since last year.

But we still have a way to go: screen time is up and 60% of Americans sleep with their phones at night. While TikTok’s low dopamine morning trend seemed to be catching on, with people focusing on morning walks and time away from their devices, most Americans aren’t following the trend and are checking their phones first thing in the morning.

  • 6% of Americans check their phone within the first 10 minutes of waking up, an increase of 10.6% since last year.
  • Although Americans check their phones less often, their screen time has increased by 30% since last year.
    • On average, Americans have a screen time of 4 hours and 25 minutes each day on their mobile devices, compared to 2 hours and 54 minutes in 2022.

Americans are more protective of their devices compared to last year. While there is a decline in the number of people who would endanger themselves to protect their phones, most Americans would make sure they had their phone with them before evacuating for a disaster.

  • In the event of a house fire (or other major disasters), 82% would be sure to take their phone with them before evacuating.
    • An increase of 26% since last year.

Protecting phones may also have something to do with the higher cost of smartphones. As prices rise, fewer Americans are upgrading their phones each more and more Americans are being cost-savvy about their mobile purchases.

  • Americans are being more cost savvy in 2023. Only 17% would go into debt to purchase a cell phone, which is an 4% decrease from 2022.

2022 to 2023 comparison

Question
2022 response
2023 response
Percent difference
In the morning, do you check your phone within the first 10 minutes of waking up?78.00%88.60%10.60%
Do you feel uneasy when leaving your phone at home?78.00%75.10%-2.90%
Do you use and/or look at your phone while driving?41.20%27.10%-14.10%
Do you use and/or look at your phone while on a date?51.30%45.80%-5.50%
Do you use and/or look at your phone while working/at work?N/A70.00%N/A
Do you use and/or look at your phone while watching TV?N/A91.80%N/A
Do you use and/or look at your phone while watching a movie at the theater?N/A34.60%N/A
Do you use and/or look at your phone while eating dinner?N/A66.50%N/A
Have you ever texted someone in the same room as you?69.40%68.70%-0.70%
Do you use your phone on the toilet?72.30%75.30%3.00%
Do you sleep with your phone at night?59.40%60.10%0.70%
Do you panic or feel a sense of anxiety if the battery on your cell phone goes below 20%?51.70%47.10%-4.60%
In the event of a house fire or other disaster, would you make an effort to take your phone with you?55.00%81.80%26.80%
Would you consider yourself to be addicted to your phone?51.90%56.90%5.00%
When you receive a notification on your cell phone, do you normally check the notification within 5 minutes or less?74.50%75.10%0.60%
Does having another person use your phone cause you anxiety or stress?49.50%44.70%-4.80%
In the first 30 minutes after losing your phone, do you experience stress or anxiety?65.20%71.20%6.00%
Have you ever gone longer than 24 hours without your cell phone?53.50%54.90%1.40%
Have you ever endangered yourself to avoid the loss or damage of your cell phone? (EX: by entering a roadway or going past safety barriers)28.90%17.50%-11.40%
Have you ever gone into debt purchasing a cell phone?28.80%17.40%-11.40%
Do you feel that it’s important to have the latest model of a cell phone?33.00%25.00%-8.00%
Have you upgraded your phone within the last year?52.90%50.40%-2.50%
Have you switched cell phone providers within the last year?36.00%29.40%-6.60%
If you could only have one, would you rather keep your cell phone rather than keep your car/vehicle?37.50%36.10%-1.40%

Best cell phone plans

Now that we know Americans are spending up to an average of 4 hours and 25 minutes on smart devices per day, finding the right cell phone plan is like uncovering a hidden gem. Here are some of our favorites.

Compare top cell phone plans by provider
Provider
Best for
Our plan pick
Plan price (1 line)
Details
Best deal for new customersUnlimited Data Plan$15/mo. for first three months
Best budget planUnlimited Text, Talk, and Data Plan$25/mo.
Bundle dealUnlimited Data Plan$45/mo.
Best bundle alternativeUnlimited Plus Data Option$39.99/mo.
Coverage$25 Unlimited Plan$25/mo.
Best family planUnlimited Basic$75/mo.
(3 lines)

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Cell phone usage by generation

We found that Americans use their cell phone differently depending on their generation. For example, Gen Z checks their phone almost immediately after receiving a notification and are the most likely to be anxious if they lose their phone.

But not everyone is like that. While Millennials may seem addicted to their phones, many reported being okay letting notifications sit and getting to them later. But, unfortunately, Gen Z and Millennials are still the most likely people to endanger themselves for their device.

Generation most likely to check their phone notifications within 5 minutes

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  • Gen Z are the most likely to check their phone within 5 minutes of receiving a notification.
  • Millennials are the least likely to immediately check their phone.
  • However, over 70% of Americans in each generation check their phone pretty immediately after receiving a notification.

Generation most anxious after losing their phone

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  • Gen Z is the most likely to be anxious after losing their phone.
  • Boomers—aka, those born before 1964—are the least anxious after losing a phone.
  • Phone anxiety has increased since 2022, with 6% more Americans experiencing stress or anxiety in the first 30 minutes.

Generation most likely to upgrade their phone

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  • Overall, 50% of Americans have upgraded their phone in the last year.
  • Gen Zers are upgrading their phones the most (58.5%) while Boomers and Gen X are upgrading the least (43%).

Generation least likely to put themselves in danger to avoid the loss or damage of their phone

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  • Boomers are the least likely to put themselves in danger to save their phone, with 95% saying they have not endangered themselves for their mobile device.
  • Unsurprisingly, Gen Z and Millennials (at 71% and 77%, respectively) are the most likely to endanger themselves for their device.

Conclusion

Americans are spending 4 hours, 25 minutes each day on their phones. While we’re not judging anyone, that’s a lot of time to be glued to your device. But our cell phone addictions are showing signs of letting up: Americans are checking their phones 200 times fewer per day now than last year.

Still, we need our cell phones to remain connected to the outside world. So if you’re looking for your next device, check out our mobile reviews to get what you need:

Methodology

Reviews.org surveyed 1,000 Americans 18 years and older with a +/- 4% margin of error and a confidence level of 95%. The survey results were weighted to reflect characteristics of the United States population using available data from the US census.

Respondents were asked to refer to their phone’s screen time report to determine the average number of times per day they check their phones, in addition to how much time in total they spend on their phones per day.

Alex Kerai
Written by
Alex Kerai
Alex began writing for student newspapers and has managed to turn that into a career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he wrote about small businesses for Biz2Credit and Business.org. Before that, he spent time in communications for higher education institutions, created marketing materials for nonprofits, and worked for entertainment companies in Los Angeles. Today, he reports on emerging consumer trends and his work can be seen on The Penny Hoarder, Business.org, Move.org, WhistleOut.com, CableTV.com, SafeWise.com, HighSpeedInternet.com, and SatelliteInternet.com. When he's not writing, Alex watches too much TV, plays guitar, reads and writes fiction, and goes on nature walks.

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