Sustainable use of a smartphone and regulatory needs

Martin Kögler (Corresponding Author), Katharina Paulick, Jürgen Scheffran, Mario Birkholz (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The significance of information and communication technologies (ICT) for the Paris Climate Agreement is continuously increasing because of its growing energy consumption. Here we examine the question for the smartphone and extend the investigation to more aspects of sustainability. Critical issues are identified for ten UN Sustainable Development Goals. Measurements of smartphone energy consumption show that a significant savings potential can be unlocked by reducing the data outflow and the large amount of personal data stored in data centers. Main discrepancies are also traced to the oligopolistic market structure of operating systems (OSs), messenger services, and social media apps. Technical means for a sustainable smartphone use are suggested as alternative OSs, social media channels of the Fediverse, as well as free and open-source software. Finally, societal conditions are emphasized to make the market for OSs and apps more diverse so that a sustainable smartphone use can generally prevail.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalSustainable Development
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Apr 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • alternative mobile operating system
  • custom ROM
  • Fediverse
  • FOSS
  • information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • smartphone


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