Study: Internet Explorer users have lower IQs than Safari users

A Vancouver based Psychometric Consulting company, AptiQuant, has released a report on a trial it conducted to measure the effects of cognitive ability on the choice of web browser

AptiQuant offers online tools to other companies to better assess their existing/potential employees based on their mental aptitude, skills, motivation and performance.

AptiQuant offered free online IQ tests to over a 100,000 people and then plotted the average IQ scores based on the browser on which the test was taken. And the results are really not that surprising. Clearly, Internet Explorer users scored lower than average on the IQ tests.

Chrome, Firefox and Safari users scored higher than average IQ scores. And users of Camino, Opera and IE with Chrome Frame had the highest IQ levels.

AptiQuant average IQ score by browser

AptiQuant browser percentage usage by IQ score percentile

AptiQuant’s Intelligence Quotient and Browser Usage report (.pdf) here.

MacDailyNews Take: One thing that’s also immediately apparent is that the rarer the browser, the higher the IQ scores. So, it seems that the more knowledgeable the user is about alternatives, the more likely they are to use them and, obviously, the more likely they are to register higher IQ scores in AptiQuant tests.

In our experience, the people who are more curious, more aware, and more willing to try new things tend to be more intelligent than the average bear. That’s why Mac users, in general, are smarter than Windows PC sufferers.

FYI, The top 7 browsers used to visit, January 1 – July 29, 2011:
• Safari – 67%
• Firefox – 11%
• Mozilla Compatible Agent – 7%
• Internet Explorer – 6% (We assume some of you are stuck with it at work. Our condolences.)
• Chrome – 6%
• Opera – 0.4%
• Camino – 0.28%

Related articles:
Mac vs. PC: The stereotypes may be true – April 22, 2011
Study: Apple iPhone users richer, younger, more productive than other so-called ‘smartphone’ users – June 12, 2009
More evidence that Mac users are smarter than Windows users – July 16, 2004
Nielsen/NetRatings: Mac users tend to be better educated and make more money than Windows PC sufferers – July 12, 2002


    1. Actually, no you don’t have to be stupid to use IE. I use it (as well as safari and firefox at times) and have an IQ in the top 2% of the population.

      I use windows at work because that is what the business software we use runs on. Until Apple makes inroads into specialized business application support we are stuck using Windows. As a result, I use IE at work because one of my roles is IT and I have to be able to support our users, regardless of what browser they use. I also use Roboform to manage almost 500 passwords and until they (siber systems) come out with a Safari for Windows plugin that works, I will be stuck with IE.

      I love my macs and my next work PC will be a mac (just waiting for the windows PC I built 4 years ago to crash an burn – maybe I built it too well). I will have to run Windows on my mac though just to run our business’s applications.

      Don’t take this the wrong way, but the non-apple user bashing on MDN gets a bit old after a whiel (and I happen to like this site) and reinforces the flawed belief that mac users are somehow Apple sycophants.

        1. Petty, shmetty- seems like someone “with an IQ in the top 2% of the population” should at least have a command of basic spelling skills.

          Just sayin…

        2. It looks like a simple typo… good grief. Of cuorse I hvae nveer made one and I’m sure no other raeders of MND – except for Brain – have either.

      1. Ok, mister “I’m so smart”, just because you have to use Windows does NOT mean you have to use IE. I have to use Windows at work, but I use Firefox as my browser. Some of my co-workers use Chrome instead of IE. Actually, I would say the people I consider to be more intelligent in what I have seen of their work, do not use IE on Windows at all, even though it is the corporate standard browser. The smart ones find a way to use something better.

        1. You jumped in with a response without truly reading and understanding what you were replying to. Brian made a fair and logical post about why he uses IE and Windows…. so he can support his user base. If he never used IE, and then someone called for IE, he may not have enough experience with a new or changed feature to provide the support that he’s paid to provide.

      2. I make allowances for those with software that runs only under IE. I have to use it for this reason too. Still, for the common user merely surfing the web, IE is the worst. As a web developer I hate the fact that we are forced to either dumb down or write special handlers for the various flavors of IE.

      3. Brian, just because you have an IQ in the top 2% of the American population, it doesn’t mean you are particularly gifted.

        In some countries you would just be in the top 50%.

        1. I was only mentioning where my IQ was to give a point of reference. I don’t care how smart or dumb some of you may think I am – it doesn’t matter, nor will I argue te point or be a braggert.

          You know, I’ve been called an ashhole (typo on purpose) by people but some of you make me look like a nice guy in comparison.

          The study referenced in the MDN article is ridiculous. It draws a conclusion based on an online iQ test and attempted ti correlate that with the browser being used.

          I use IE because I have not found a better password manager than roboform. Not because I’m dumb and don’t know there are better ones out there.

          I wonder if some of you treat people in real life the way you treat people on here.

          Yes I made a typo, and yes I did not proof read my post for typos as I devote a small amount of my time to these online forums, preferring real life interactions with people. What if I had made a grammatical mistake due to my iPhone’s autocorrect changing a word or trying to infer what I was saying. you’d call me ou on that or as well.

          1. Oh yeah, the old “my iPhone did it!”

            That one’s been used to death on this site. When I make a blooper I blame it on the bath salts I just snorted. That, or the spray paint.

      4. Hey Genius,

        If you were half as smart as you try to lead people to believe, you would realize APPLE as a corporation could give two shits about specialized business software, that is what developers for dumbass. Apple sells consumer devices, that are wholly more secure than any windoze operating system. That is why IT people can not a positive thing about a Mac OS, while sidestepping the whole reason he has a job is because Microsoft’s inability to create an OS that is stable in the internet age….which WINDOWS was NEVER INTENDED for! Bill Gates thought the internet was a fade!

    2. From a security point of view, you’ve got to be stupid to use IE.

      But a lot of businesses are STUCK on Microsoft trash. Also, Microsoft BROKE Internet standards by puking up their own coded that ONLY resolves using IE. Therefore, if you’re a sucker who uses Microsoft’s non-standard code, your users are STUCK using IE to read your web pages.

      CONCLUSION: The sooner Microsoft is put out of our misery, the better for the ENTIRE computer community. I demand competition in the marketplace, but Microsoft must die. I see no hope any longer in Microsoft ever benefiting anyone under its current leadership.

    3. what browser you use does not determine how intelligent you are. Some of you apple fanboys auto give Internet explorer a go. True it’s not the fastest browser in the world but it gets it’s job done. As long as a browser is able to display web pages and load at a short amount of time, its good. And I bet the people who conducted this survey are using Internet explorer because they were really stupid to assume that web browsers had anything to do with an indevidual’s IQ.

    1. Actually, it all depends upon how archaic your IT Dept is at work. For example, my wife’s office is still running Windows NT 2000 (yes, older than XP!) for their Enterprise OS.


    2. Ouch! Now that hurt. I steer well clear of Windows whenever possible, but when I am forced to fire up a copy of XP in VirtualBox on my MacBook, to run my company’s clunky Windows-only invoicing software, and I need to access the Windows Update site, or something else that requires IE over Firefox, my IE flavor of choice is 6, a far leaner and more efficient browser than its younger siblings. The UI of IE 7, 8, and 9 is just too horrible to look at. IE6 at least could be customized to cram all its buttons, menus, and address bar into one neat screen-real-estate saving row. I know it’s an end-of-life product, but I can’t bear to look at where Microsoft has taken IE since…

      My Safari experience has been for so long now pleasantly altered by the wonderful plugin, Saft, that I hardly know how to compare the stock version to other Mac platform browsers, and my jury’s still out on 5.1, but I enjoy supplementing Safari with Firefox, Camino, and Opera, depending on the purpose of my browsing. So am I a knuckle dragging Luddite, or a reasonably brainy type who thinks for himself, rather than letting Microsoft tell me that it’s new UI is better. Don’t get me started on the @#*!!£%& Ribbon…

  1. that just average number. nothing else. actually, that doesn’t make any sense at all. so if you use IE, you are stupid? NO. that’s why playing with number makes people dumb. stay away from it. I use IE 9 (windows 7 64 bit), Chrome (developer version), safari (Lion 5.1 version) at that same time. I don’t think that my IQ is low. 127 is pretty high, right?

  2. … isn’t “IE with Chrome Frame” still IE? And, if so, that’s about ten points of “better” compared to Safari.
    Not that I’m complaining! It’s nice that so many other Safari users are as test-skilled as I am. Note that I didn’t say “intelligent”. These tests do not measure “intelligence”. But, it sure feels good, doesn’t it?

  3. Our company just switched from IE6 to IE7 last year. Luckily, I was able to install firefox years ago and only use IE when I have to do corporate stuff that requires it.

  4. Ok This article is kind of stupid. Both are good web browsers. What web browser you use does not determine your IQ level. I’m just going to take a go on this. But among those who took the IQ test, how many answered honestly? I ask because there a ton of folks who just give dummy answers to get it over with. You cant say that people who use IE are morons and those who go with safari are geniuses unless you are just biased against everything that does not have an apple logo on it.

  5. To be honest I used to fall under the 6% ‘condolences’ Internet Explorer category when I first visited MDN. I was a Windows user who was curious about the Mac community and found a looser, more open debate going on here in MDN. Admittedly there is a level of censorship going on here that would make Goebbels blush but nothing too egregious I thought. You could say almost anything here within reason except bomb on Apple too much.

    It gave a sense of community that Windows users lacked unless visiting Paul Thurrott’s website is your kind of thing. I learned a few things here and keep learning. One of the recent things I learned was Growl. I wouldnt give it up for anything now.

    One thing’s for sure: Safari keeps me sane. I didn’t like the Windows version of Safari to be honest but after owning an iPhone for a while it grew on me. Now I find it much easier to use than IE, especially the UI disaster that is IE9. I mean IE9 is worse than whale shit. I know because I dual boot to Windows 7 on my Mac and God help me only retards can love Windows & IE.

  6. I call BS on MDNs take. Firefox is hardly rare anymore. Yet users of Camino are at the bottom. By MDNs logic, Camino users should be geniuses.

    Users of OmniWeb, a Mac only browser not even on this chart, should make Einstein and Hawking look like village idiots.

  7. i dont think the study really proves anything. In fact its kind of a joke. i know some very smart people who run IE simply because its there and they dont spend much time concerning themselves with what browser they use or even care. they just want to look something up and then get on with the day

  8. True story: I once spoke to a PC user who changed his computer because his ‘re-cycle bin’ was full. Did not realize he could ’empty’ it (this was years back when hard drives were small). He was a senior executive.

    no wonder they sell so many PCs.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.