Roughly as many 18-29 years olds own a cell phone (90%) as do 30-49 year olds, and Americans ages 50-64 aren’t that far behind in cell ownership (82%). But young adults are far more likely to use their cell phones for more than just talking than are older adults. On all 13 mobile data applications asked about, 18-29 year olds were significantly more likely than those in other age groups to engage in a cell phone app. Nearly all young adults text message (95%) and take pictures with their phone (93%), and a majority access the internet, play music, play games, record video and send email on their phone. While most adults ages 30 to 64 text message and take pictures, these are the only apps a majority use. For example, while 64% of young adults play music on their phone, only 36% of adults ages 30-49 and 13% of adults 50-64 listen to tunes on their phone. Only 57% of adults ages 65 and older own a cell phone, but unlike younger age groups, texting is not this group’s most used app. A third of older adults (34%) take pictures with their phones, while just 19% text. Only 3% of adults ages 65 and older have accessed a social networking site on their phone, however, compared with 48% of adults 18-29. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.