The Screen-Size Debate: How the iPhone 6 Plus Impacts Where We Read & Watch

Every day, millions of articles, videos and web pages are saved and viewed on Pocket across phones, tablets, and desktops. Every so often, we explore and analyze this data to surface interesting trends on how content consumption patterns are changing.

We live in a day and age where phones have become so big they require a thumb extender and fanny pack to use them.

iPhone 6 Plus Fanny Pack

If this is to be the new normal, we found ourselves wondering how screen size might affect when and where we view the content we’re interested in?

We used the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as an opportunity to answer this question. Our analysis dug into over 2 million article and video opens and compared before-and-after behavior for users who upgraded from an iPhone 5/5S to a 6/6 Plus. Here’s what we uncovered:

Life before the iPhone 6 Plus:

To understand how the 6 Plus affects consumption, we first looked at users who owned both an iPhone 5/5S and iPad and looked at how they spent their time reading on both devices. For these users, 55% of content was consumed on an iPhone versus 45% on an iPad. A fairly even split.

This is in dramatic contrast to users with both an Android phone and tablet, where the average phone size tends to be larger. A whopping 80% of content is viewed on Android phones, versus a mere 20% on tablets.

Life after the iPhone 6 Plus:

All this changed once users had the new iPhones in hand.

Life After the iPhone 6 Plus

The bigger your phone’s screen, the more time you’ll spend reading / watching on it. Users who upgraded to an iPhone 6 now view content on their phones 72% of the time, up from 55% when on a smaller screen. Those who went big and bought an iPhone 6 Plus consume content on their phones 80% of the time – the same ratio of phone to tablet reading as seen on Android.

In fact, the bigger your phone’s screen, the more you’ll read / watch as a whole. We saw that users with both an iPhone and an iPad consumed significantly more content as soon as they upgraded to an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Those with the 6 now open 33% more articles and videos inside Pocket than they did with a 5/5S, and those with the 6 Plus open 65% more items than they did with a smaller phone.

The bigger your phone is, the less you’re going to use your iPad. Users with an iPhone 6 now read on their tablets 19% less during the week and 27% less over the weekend. Those with a 6 Plus are on their tablets 31% less during the week and 36% less over the weekend.

That being said, there remains one place where tablets still hold reign: your nightstand. Regardless of which iPhone they have, users still reach for their iPads around 9pm for some late-night, bedtime reading.

Other Screen-Size Trends We Discovered: 

  • A bigger screen means watching more video. Those with an iPhone 6 Plus open nearly 40% more video in Pocket than those who carry an iPhone 5/5S and 16% more video than iPhone 6 users.
  • A bigger screen means you can leave your second device at home. We found that in a given weekend, users with an iPhone 6 Plus now view 67% more content on their phone than those with a 5/5S. Those with an iPhone 6 view 35% more. Either way, you can rely more on your phone on-the-go, and leave the iPad at home.
  • Alas, a bigger screen means your phone becomes less portable. It’s pretty tricky to read on your iPhone 6 Plus with one hand and grasp a subway pole with the other. Turns out that those with an iPhone 6 Plus read 22% less on their morning commutes than those with an iPhone 5/5S or 6.

So, Which iPhone is Right for Me?

In summary, here are some guidelines to help you make your decision:

  • If you like watching videos, choose an iPhone 6 Plus.
  • Either new iPhone is a significant upgrade if you only want to carry one device over the weekend.
  • If you like to read on your morning commute go with an iPhone 6 (or stick with your 5/5S)
  • If you don’t own a tablet, and enjoy reading on a screen right before bed, you might want to consider skipping a new iPhone altogether and invest in an iPad.

All this being said, like we’ve seen in recent reports, 2.5x more Pocket users are opting for an iPhone 6 as opposed to a 6 Plus. This tells us that, at least for now, convenience and portability trump a better (and bigger) entertainment and reading experience.

Though if you’ve just ordered a set of thumb extenders, it’s safe to say you’re committed to the 6 Plus 🙂

– Team Pocket