How Fast Can You Write on Your Smartphone?


Many Americans use smartphones for most or all of their day-to-day communication activities. One result is that people have gotten faster and better at typing emails and text messages on their phones.


But how fast are we at using an electronic device compared to typing words on a traditional, physical keyboard? A new study has some answers. A team of researchers carried out an experiment. It involved more than 37,000 volunteers from over 160 countries.


The study was a project of researchers from Finland's Aalto University, England's University of Cambridge and ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. They used an Internet-based system to test the typing speed of people on their smartphones.


On average, the volunteers estimated they spent about six hours a day using their phones. The majority said they used two thumbs to write messages. Both Androidand iPhone users were tested, and most said they used the device's standard keyboard.


The volunteers were given 15 English sentences to type out on their phones "as quickly and accurately as possible." The research team found that on average, people wrote about 36 words per minute. Those tested made a typing mistake 2.3 percent of the time.


The researchers noted that 36 words per minute is about 25 percent slower than the average rate for people using a computer keyboard. In a 2018 University of Cambridge study, the average speed for computer typists was about 52 words per minute.


The researchers noted one reason for the narrowing of speed rates between smartphones and computers. They said people have become slower at typing on keyboards over the years.


Seventy-five percent of those taking part in the study had typing speeds below 44 words per minute. But the fastest phone typists reached speeds of over 80 words per minute.

参与这项研究的75% 的人打字速度低于每分钟44个单词。 但是打字速度最快的打字员达到了每分钟80个单词的速度。

The published results show there was no difference between males and females in the typing speeds.


Subjects who reported using two thumbs or two fingers reached speeds of 38 words per minute. Those who said they used only one finger typed 29 words per minute.

使用两个大拇指或两个手指的受试者达到了每分钟38个单词的速度。 那些说他们只用一根手指的人每分钟打29个单词。

Among age groups, the fastest typists on an electronic device were between 10 and 19 years old. They typed nearly 40 words per minute. People aged 40 to 49 wrote about 29 words per minute. And the rate dropped to 26 words per minute for those aged 50 to 59.

在年龄组中,电子设备上打字最快的是10到19岁之间的人。 他们每分钟输入将近40个单词。 40到49岁的人每分钟写29个单词。 而年龄在50到59岁之间的人每分钟26个单词。

Anna Feit, a researcher at ETH Zurich, helped lead the study. She said it makes sense that younger people have higher typing speeds because they generally spend a lot more time on their devices.

苏黎世联邦理工学院的研究员安娜 · 费特领导了这项研究。 她说,年轻人有更高的打字速度是不无道理的,因为他们通常花更多的时间在他们的设备上。

Such a large amount of experience transfers to the development of typing skill, Feit said. "And explains why young people - who spend more time with social media, communicating with each other - are picking up higher speeds."

“如此大量的精力被转移到打字技能上,”费特说。 “这也解释了为什么花更多时间在社交媒体上、相互交流的年轻人的打字速度更快。”

The researchers also found that a phone's automatic correct tool can be extremely helpful. Users were able to type faster than those without the correct tool. But word prediction tools were not very helpful to users in the experiment, noted Aalto University researcher Sunjun Kim.

研究人员还发现,手机的自动纠错工具非常有用。 用户可以比那些没有正确引导工具的用户输入更快。 但是阿尔托大学的研究人员 Sunjun Kim 指出,词汇预测工具在实验中对用户没有多大帮助。

The given understanding is that techniques like word completion help people, Kim said. "But what we found out is that the time spent thinking about the word suggestions often outweighs the time it would take you to type the letters, making you slower overall."

金说: “固有的理解是,像完善词汇这样的技术能够帮助人们。”“但我们发现,花在思考建议这个词上的时间远远超过了打字所需的时间,总体而言,这会让你速度变慢。”

The researchers call the difference between typing words on a smartphone and a physical keyboard "the typing gap." They predict this gap will further narrow in the future as people get less skilled with keyboards and as smart methods for typing on devices continue to improve.


I'm Bryan Lynn.