Scientists can find out A LOT about you from the molecules you leave behind on your iPhone

Turns out it’s not just what’s IN your phone that says a lot about you, but what’s on it.

Scientists are able to take molecules left on the surface of a phone and draw a “lifestyle sketch” of the phone’s owner. They did this by swabbing the phones of 39 adult volunteers. From those phones, researchers analyzed more than 500 molecular samples.

The samples collected from the phone paint a very detailed picture of the life you live. Like, very detailed.

“By analyzing the molecules they’ve left behind on their phones, we could tell if a person is likely female, uses high-end cosmetics, dyes her hair, drinks coffee, prefers beer over wine, likes spicy food, is being treated for depression, wears sunscreen and bug spray ― and therefore likely spends a lot of time outdoors ― all kinds of things,” wrote Dr. Amina Bouslimani in a statement.


Scientists believe molecular tracing will one day help with forensics and criminal profiling.

“With our approach, one can create a profile of the lifestyle of a person to narrow down a subject pool, said Dr. Pieter Dorrestein. “Then, other hard evidence such as DNA or fingerprints will need to be linked to the actual person.

Catching bad guys with SCIENCE? We’re on board.