Mobile Lost & Found: Where Do Most People Lose Their Phones

According to a resources website provided by mobile security software firm LookOut, we lose our smartphones about once a year. However, if you live in Philadelphia, you are likely to lose your phone twice a year, while Chicagoans lose their phone only every three years, on average. The total cost of stolen or misplaced phones in the U.S. could be about $30 billion this year, LookOut estimates.

Other data suggests that we are most likely to lose a phone in coffee shops, offices, bars and restaurants. Two thirds of lost phones disappear between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. and more phones get lost during festivals and celebrations than on other days. On Christmas alone, $11 million dollars in smartphone value was lost.

Overall, it appears that smartphone owners in Atlanta have the highest value in misplaced phones that were located through a software tool offered by LookOut. At the time of this writing, Atlanta was in the lead with $50.6 milllion, ahead of Fort Worth with $48.5 million and Philadelphia with $48 million. Of course all these numbers are theoretical values and not all "losses" may actually be losses as users are simply using a tool to find their phones that may only be a few feet away.

Other findings from LookOut:

  • • In the U.S. people lose a smartphone about once a year.
  • • People in Manchester, England have the highest likelihood of losing their phone out of any other population in the world.
  • • Phones are more often lost at night. Two-thirds of phone loss happens between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time. And one of the top places to lose your phone at is a bar or pub – we’ll let you draw your own conclusion as to why!
  • • Coffee shops, offices, bars and restaurants top the list as the most common venues to lose your phone in the U.S.
  • • Unsurprisingly, more phones are lost during festivals and celebrations. During Christmas, more than $11 million dollars worth of phones were lost.
  • • During the week of Carnival (aka Mardi Gras), more phones were lost around the world than during your average parade-less, bead-less week. Party-goers in Cologne lost 30% more phones and in Paris, 72% more phones were lost.
  • • The top U.S. cities for phone loss include (Interestingly, many of the cities with highest rates of lost phones also were in the top ranks for the FBI’s most recent crime stats):
    1. Philadelphia
    2. Seattle
    3. Oakland
    4. Long Beach
    5. Newark
    6. Detroit
    7. Cleveland
    8. Baltimore
    9. New York
    10. Boston
  • Philadelphia
  • Seattle
  • Oakland
  • Long Beach
  • Newark
  • Detroit
  • Cleveland
  • Baltimore
  • New York
  • Boston

Douglas Perry is an author and journalist from Portland, Oregon. His many articles have appeared in the likes of Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, The Oregonian, and several newspapers. He has covered topics including security, hardware, and cars, and has written five books. In his spare time, he enjoys watching The Sopranos.

  • ikyung
    I agree with bars.. I use to work at a bar and it's amazing how many phones we had after a friday and saturday night.
  • Gigahertz20
    I've been through about 5 cell phone upgrades but I haven't lost or broke a cell phone yet. I've dropped them a few times onto floors/concrete but no significant damage has ever happened. Good case and screen protectors help alot.
  • Uberragen21
    I've never lost or broken a phone. How people are so careless is beyond me. However, I too worked at a bar and we found, on average, 3 phones a night on Friday and Saturday.
  • Plasmid
    I've never lost a cellphone, but that's because I've never had one :D
  • timaeus
    I'm really curious what the distribution on that average is though. Because it seems like *most* people never actually lose their phones. But I have some friends who lose their phones something like monthly.
  • jl0329
    It's amazing that we need study to learn it's more likely to lose your phone in a bar.

    Common sense can be useful.
  • onanonanon
    Dude! You are so right! I don't know why someone hasn't pointed that out before!
  • house70
    cheridengon average, a adaptable buzz was absent every 3.5 seconds. Added than 9 actor humans went through that gut-wrenching acquaintance of acumen they larboard their buzz in a cab, at a bar (including one iPhone 4 prototype), on the plane, or at an ex-girlfriend’s house…the account goes on and on. Adaptable aegis aggregation Lookout Adaptable crunched the numbers and projected that in 2012, the amount of absent phones will absolute an amazing $30 billion.WTF?!!!
  • A Bad Day
    "We're sorry that you lost your phone. However, since you did not purchase insurance, we will not activate your lost phone's GPS tracking system and assist you. Please buy another phone and make sure to purchase our rip-off insurance."

    That was what our carrier provider told us. I wish I still had their letter that they sent us.
  • freggo
    The total cost of stolen or misplaced phones in the U."S. could be about $30 billion this year."

    That averages to 82Million a day.

    "On Christmas alone, $11 million dollars in smartphone"

    Hmmm, so Christmas is much LESS likely time to loose a phone?
    So much for Reporters and Math; as usual :-)