Users of the main smartphone operating systems (iOS, Android) differ only little in personality

Friedrich M Götz, Stefan Stieger, Ulf-Dietrich Reips

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

70 Citations (Scopus)


The increasingly widespread use of mobile phone applications (apps) as research tools and cost-effective means of vast data collection raises new methodological challenges. In recent years, it has become a common practice for scientists to design apps that run only on a single operating system, thereby excluding large numbers of users who use a different operating system. However, empirical evidence investigating any selection biases that might result thereof is scarce. Henceforth, we conducted two studies drawing from a large multi-national (Study 1; N = 1,081) and a German-speaking sample (Study 2; N = 2,438). As such Study 1 compared iOS and Android users across an array of key personality traits (i.e., well-being, self-esteem, willingness to take risks, optimism, pessimism, Dark Triad, and the Big Five). Focusing on Big Five personality traits in a broader scope, in addition to smartphone users, Study 2 also examined users of the main computer operating systems (i.e., Mac OS, Windows). In both studies, very few significant differences were found, all of which were of small or even tiny effect size mostly disappearing after sociodemographics had been controlled for. Taken together, minor differences in personality seem to exist, but they are of small to negligible effect size (ranging from OR = 0.919 to 1.344 (Study 1), ηp2 = .005 to .036 (Study 2), respectively) and may reflect differences in sociodemographic composition, rather than operating system of smartphone users.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0176921
Pages (from-to)e0176921
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Extraversion, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications/statistics & numerical data
  • Personality
  • Personality Tests
  • Self Concept
  • Smartphone/statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Multidisciplinary
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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