comScore has released a new study that shows iPhone users are more likely to use WiFi than Android owners. The research shows that that in the United States, 71% of iPhones connect to WiFi as well as the mobile network. Meanwhile, only 32% of Android devices connect to WiFi networks, with the remaining 68% only connecting to the mobile data network.
The figures for the United Kingdom are even more dramatic for iOS: 87% of iPhones connect to WiFi for web access, with only 13% not doing so. Android users in the UK do seem to be a bit more savvy, though, with the numbers more balanced than the US. 57% of Android smartphones in Blighty connect to WiFi, while 43% don’t.
So, why does iOS have greater WiFi usage? In this writer’s humble opinion, it could be down to how WiFi settings are presented on both iOS and Android. The default setting for iOS is to popup an alert whenever a user has WiFi turned on and has networks in range while trying to access data. It’s a fairly invasive alert too, stealing focus away from the current app. On Android, meanwhile, the OS does prompt you to available WiFi networks, but briefly and in the notification bar: users most likely ignore the notification and go about their business.
As for why the UK sees even higher WiFi rates, it could come down to two reasons. First, WiFi hotspots are prevalent in Central London. They don’t quite blanket the center of the city, but if you’re sitting in or near some kind of drinking/eating establish, they’re more likely than not to have a WiFi network. And second, the UK currently doesn’t have any 4G LTE options, so if 3G data is struggling due to congestion, hopping on a WiFi network is the only way to ensure a steady stream of fast data.