The use of smartphones has increased tremendously in the last ten years, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. When you want to describe doing something with a phone, do you say “in my phone” or “on my phone”? Are both correct? This article will answer all of these questions.
Both “in my phone” and “on my phone” are grammatically correct and make logical sense, but they are not used for the same things. “In my phone” describes things that are inside the phone itself, such as a SIM card or other electronics. “On my phone” describes the software.
Therefore, it’s fair to say that “in my phone” and “on my phone” are not at all interchangeable, because they refer to different things entirely.
The preposition “in” is normally used to talk about things that are contained within or inside of different things.
Meanwhile, “on” is used to describe things that are on top of surfaces. This is the preposition that is regularly used to describe interactions with software.
According to the Google Ngram Viewer, “on my phone” is several times as popular as “in my phone”, though both expressions have only been in common use since the middle of the 2000s.
This makes sense when you consider how much more people talk about the things they can do with their phone in terms of apps and phone calls compared to people talking about their phone’s electronics.
The phrase “in my phone” should be used when talking about things that are inside of a phone. These could be literal electronic components that make up the phone, but also things stored inside of the phone, such as pictures, can be “in my phone”.
It’s easy to assume that “in my phone” only refers to physical components that are inside the phone, but it also refers to images, files, anything that you’d describe as being contained by the phone.
Here are a few examples that showcase how to use “in my phone” in a sentence:
- In my phone there’s a camera, but also a SIM card slot and a micro SD card slot, too.
- I have many saved pictures in my phone, and I’ve taken them throughout many years.
- There are several special tiny microchips contained in my cell phone that help it properly work.
- There’s a micro-USB charging slot in my phone that I always use.
- In my cell phone I have a picture of the time me and my family took a trip to Europe.
- In my phone I have many good contacts that I can call to get interviews out of.
- In my cell phone there are two different SIM cards for two different countries.
“On my phone” is the proper way to refer to software and things that are being used inside of a phone. The preposition “on” is generally used for software, websites, and other similar things, so you use it to refer to basic phone usage such as calling and taking pictures.
The phrase “on my phone” is the one that most people use to talk about their phones and the way that they use them, as it’s the most natural sounding.
Here are some example sentences that will teach you how to use “on my phone” in a sentence:
- I called you on my cell phone an hour ago but you didn’t pick up.
- On my phone I have many different applications that I use every single day.
- On my cell phone I set my profile picture to a picture of a mountain.
- Can you check my email on my phone to see if my package has arrived?
- On my cell phone I have multiple messaging apps for different purposes.
- There’s a picture on my phone that I don’t remember taking last night.
- I texted her on my cell phone, and when she replied I sent her the relevant images.
Whether an app is “in my phone” or “on my phone” changes depending on the context and the intent. If the sentence is about how the app is stored, then “in my phone” is appropriate. If it’s about how the app is used, then “on my phone” is correct.
Here are a couple of examples of each version:
- There is an app in my phone that works for this purpose.
- I used the app on my phone to edit the pictures appropriately.
Both “pictures in my phone” and “pictures on my phone” are grammatically correct phrases, whichever one you use depends on the context. If you’re talking about how the pictures are saved inside the phone, then “in” is correct. When talking about taking the pictures, “on” is correct.
Here are a couple of examples for each version:
- I have many pictures in my phone that I need to delete to make space.
- I was taking pictures on my phone when I received an unexpected phone call.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.