Most Smartphones Lost At Night

LookOut Mobile says two-thirds of lost devices vanish from pubs and bars at night.

Eric Zeman, Contributor

March 23, 2012

3 Min Read

Alcohol and smartphones don't mix. That's the word from Lookout Mobile, which culled data from its 15 million users around the world and uncovered where and when people are most likely to lose smartphones.

The figures are sobering. People in the U.S. tend to lose their smartphone about once per year. Considering most Americans have two-year contracts, that means they are ponying up some serious cash to buy new or used replacement devices.

Throughout 2011, LookOut Mobile helped 9 million people recover lost smartphones. Just think how big that bill could have been for the IT department had the devices not been recovered.

The majority of smartphones are lost at night, while people are out partying and having a good time. LookOut reports that two-thirds of phone losses occur between 9PM and 2AM, and bars and pubs top the list of places people lose their phones. This stat doesn't surprise me in the least. I see people leave their smartphones sitting on bars unattended while they use the restroom or go outside for a cigarette almost every time I visit one of my local watering holes.

[ This intriguing story of a stolen smartphone has a happy ending. See Stolen iPhone Saved By iCloud. ]

Aside from bars, smartphones most often go missing at coffee shops, restaurants, and offices in the U.S. (Yup, your coworkers are potential thieves.)

For mobile workers using a company-issued device, this is unacceptable. Why? Because more than 90% of people who find lost smartphones snoop through them.

Holidays and celebrations are apparently the most dangerous times to be a smartphone. LookOut reports that more than $11 million worth of smartphones were lost during the Christmas holiday season. During Mardi Gras/Carnivale "more phones were lost around the world than during your average paradeless, beadless week. Partygoers in Cologne lost 30% more phones, and in Paris, 72% more phones were lost."

For whatever reason, people in Manchester, England are the most apt to lose their smartphones--they have a higher incidence of loss than any other city/market in the world. What are you folks doing over there?

Want to know where phones are lost most often in the U.S.? More smartphones are lost in Philadelphia than anywhere else in the country. The remaining top ten cities for lost phones: Seattle, Oakland, Long Beach, Newark, Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore, New York, and Boston.

Want to keep your smartphone safe from thieves? Here are 10 suggestions for you. At the very least, remember to stuff your smartphone in your pocket when you're out having a good time this weekend.

InformationWeek is conducting a survey to determine the types of measures and policies IT is taking to ensure the security of the full range of mobile assets on cellular, Wi-Fi, and other wireless technologies. Upon completion of our survey, you will be eligible to enter a drawing to receive an 32-GB Apple iPod Touch. Take our Mobile Security Survey now. Survey ends March 23.

About the Author(s)

Eric Zeman


Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies.

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