What is a smartphone?

A smartphone is a cellular telephone with an integrated computer and other features not originally associated with telephones, such as an operating system (OS), web browsing and the ability to run software applications.

Smartphones are used by consumers and as part of a person's business or work. They provide access to many mobile applications and computing functions, and have become integral to everyday modern life.

Popular uses of smartphones

Common ways smartphones are used include the following:

  • Email and messaging. Email and messaging applications can be loaded on a smartphone, letting users receive and send messages from their phone.
  • Social media. Many consumers use smartphones to engage with friends, family and brands on social media. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, have mobile apps that users download from a phone's app store. Smartphone apps make it possible for users to post personal updates and photos while on the go.
  • Health and wellness. Another common use for smartphones is health and wellness tracking. For instance, the Health app for Apple iOS tracks sleep behavior, nutrition, body measurements, vital signs and mental health exercises.
  • Connecting with other devices. Third-party wearable devices, such as smartwatches, can connect with a smartphone to monitor an individual's health statistics, such as heart rate and number of steps walked, and send that information to be aggregated on the phone.
  • Mobile payment. Digital wallet features let users save credit card information on their phones to make mobile payments when buying items. Apps such as Apple Pay also enable users to pay other iOS users directly from their phones.