How To Tell iPhone Visitors in Google Analytics

iphone scriptures application

You’re either sick of hearing about the iPhone or you eat up anything said about it. I have gadgetitis, and so does Aaron, so we’ll be getting iPhones next week. If you’re a Mac user, the iPhone is a heaven sent, despite what others are saying. I’ve tried the Sidekick, Blackberry, and the Treo, all of which either didn’t sync or really had a lame attempt at syncing with my Mac. Plus, the interface for the phones has been clunky and 1990s at best.

First off, if you’re interested in iPhone visitors you may want to consider creating an application. I created my first iPhone application that so far I have called iPhone Scriptures (yes, I’m religious :)). I read from the scriptures every day and I like to have them with me when I have a spare moment to read. Since the iPhone doesn’t allow for 3rd party applications (you know, when you load those on your Treo et al then it starts crashing) except through the browser, I figured I had better just build my own. I found a database of the scriptures and made a quick and simple AJAX interface. It’s not perfect, but it will improve over time (and especially after I get my iPhone!). You can see what it might look like on an iPhone simulation.

iPhone Visitors in Google Analytics

iPhone resolution google analytics

From initial Google Analytics data from my iPhone app, it looks like the only way to distinguish the iPhone from other Macs is through the screen resolution, which is 320 x 396. You would think there would be some further distinguishing, but not so far. I looked at the browsers, OS, hostnames, and network locations but could not distinguish the group of iPhone visitors through any of those.

So to check for iPhone visitors, open up Google Analytics, go to Visitors, then to Browser Capabilities, then to Screen Resolution. Look for 320 x 396. You may be asking (if you are a crazy iPhone maniac like me) why not 320 x 480? The viewable area of the browser goes down to 396 in height with the address bar area, etc.

Google Analytics is always a bit delayed, so I haven’t seen a bunch of traffic yet. Plus, I’m sure reading the New Testament on your new iPhone probably isn’t on the top of most people’s lists for discovering its cool features. For anyone with a new iPhone, I found this cool application (well designed, much better than mine) that works as a home page for accessing all the different iPhone apps.

6 Comments

  • Nice catch. I didnt realize that these stats could be also usefull this way.

  • Josh says:

    What if the user is browsing widescreen? Will it report a different resolution?

  • Josh, good question, but I think it will always show 320×396. Looking at my stats now, having hundreds of visitors, I don’t see any other resolution show up that could be it.

  • Avinash says:

    That’s really a wonderful tip, Michael. Good for iPhone app developers. =)

    – Avi

  • Leyton Jay says:

    Nice post, but I think as of very recently Google Analytics will now itemise iPhone hits seperately from Mac OS X, I’ve certianly seen them start to appear since the UK launch last week. There’s an easy way to find out your user-agent and IP address on my website at leytonjay.co.uk/about-you/.

    Cheers!

  • mfg says:

    the resolution of the screen itself doesnt shift whether its wide or vertical… its essentially arbitrary to say HxW or WxH. my question tho is this, what version of flash does the iPhone run on? oddly, the only version of flash with the same number of visits as the iP res. is 9.0 r48. However, these two metrics dont have their visits on the same dates. (also the number of visits including the iP res is equal to the number of visits including all named versions of flash so its not omitting non-versions of flash.)

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