My iPhone X got stolen from my pocket a couple of months ago. I switched back to my iPhone 5. Last weekend an acquaintance of mine jokingly put my iPhone 5 out of my pocket and I immediately felt the little pressure of having a phone on your pocket going away so I was able to recover my phone. Even though it was a joke, now I'm actually very afraid of investing in a new phone because right now I don't think I'm able to stop someone from pickpocketing me in a crowded place anymore.

I was wondering if someone has a solution to this problem? I need some kind of notification when someone tries to pickpocket my phone and/or a way to lock my phone in my pocket.

  • 14
    I recall that when Bush was President, his daughters - under Secret Service protection - had their iPhones stolen. If the Secret Service can not prevent pickpocketing, then what hope do you have?
    – emory
    Sep 23, 2019 at 18:33
  • @emory To be fair, the people able and willing to pickpocket the president's daughters may be far more skilled than an average pickpocket.
    – JMac
    Sep 23, 2019 at 20:02
  • 5
    @emory Was that a case of pickpocketing? Or did they just leave their purses or phones on a table or something? Women's pockets are often not big enough to comfortably hold a phone, so it's far more likely they were just out in the open, much easier marks. Sep 23, 2019 at 20:32
  • 1
    @DarrelHoffman I think you are right - nbcnews.com/id/15846961/ns/world_news-americas/t/….
    – emory
    Sep 23, 2019 at 20:35
  • 3
    Which pocket? It makes a big difference.
    – TenMinJoe
    Sep 24, 2019 at 8:24

8 Answers 8


Well, it really depends on what you are wearing. Do you have enough pockets or not? Do you have hidden / hard to reach pockets or not?

If you wear a jacket, store the phone in an inner pocket in the front. If your pant have deep side pockets (the pockets just below the belt), store the phone there.

In such cases, it is best to only carry with you what is STRICTLY necessary, otherwise you are at risk.

My guess on what is strictly necessary:

  • some cash;
  • a banking card, but it is better to have cash instead - in that way, you limit your losses in case of the undesired event;
  • the keys - from the car, from the apartment; if the car is secure enough, only carry the car keys, leave the house keys in the car; (risky also, depending on the neighborhood of the bar);
  • don't wear visibly expensive jewelry;


  • don't wear things in the back pants pockets - they are the easiest target;
  • don't store things in large pockets, easily accessible to third parties;
  • don't carry expensive stuff you don't need;

You may secure the pocket from the inside with a safety pin:

safety pins

Of course, they should not be used for the rear pockets of pants, for the obvious reason of accidents :)

  • 3
    If you live in the US, then don't carry cash but carry a credit card. Your risk for loss is then exactly 0 since your bank will immediately reimburse you for any fraudulent purchases on the card. Sep 24, 2019 at 1:25
  • 1
    If you live outside US it's possible a credit card is still the best option - afaik the reimbursement comes not from the bank but from the card company (VISA, MasterCard, etc) and that should work for any country of origin. It works that way in Poland, but double check for your country.
    – Maurycy
    Sep 24, 2019 at 7:29
  • If you do want to carry around just your card I would recommend getting a mini-wallet, card holder or keeping the card attached to your phone. From experience, I can say carrying around loose cards in your pocket is a bad idea. I've learned this lesson with less important cards, thankfully. It turns out to be pretty easy to accidentally scoop them out while retrieving things from your pocket. A phone is a more or less perfect tool for scooping your loose cards into the street.
    – Nathan
    Sep 24, 2019 at 8:54
  • @NathanCooper: Actually, I would strongly suggest to keep nothing together with the phone. If the phone goes away, everything goes away. A phone may be "the perfect tool" IF theft / lost would be out of the question.
    – virolino
    Sep 24, 2019 at 9:00
  • 1
    @virolino Good point. I'd just recommend a mini-wallet or a card holder then.
    – Nathan
    Sep 24, 2019 at 9:19

A common solution is to put your things in pockets that are relatively tight. Put one or more rubber bands around the wallet or phone. The rubber band increases friction when anyone tries to remove the wallet or phone. This will stop most casual pickpocketing. Teams or very skilled pickpockets can overcome it though.

Alternately there is a belt you can use that has an inside pocket. Sometimes the belt is worn over clothes sometimes under clothes. There are many different styles the most effective make it difficult for you to access, and are going to be less helpful in bar.

Also consider the great suggestions in the answer by virolino

  • I have some pants with very tight pockets (by accident, I do not like tight clothes). Actually, they are so tight, that is it uncomfortable to sit while having something in the said pockets. However, +1 for the "rubber bands" idea. I am not sure it is useful, but it is original.
    – virolino
    Sep 24, 2019 at 9:29
  • @virolino I believe I learned about the rubber bands from the movie Harry in Your Pocket (1973) Sep 24, 2019 at 10:15

Security clothes. They have an inner zippered pocket.



  • While those clothes are safer they also mark the wearer as a Tourist, that in turn attracts thieves
    – Rsf
    Sep 24, 2019 at 11:02

Only put the phone in pockets with a button or zipper. Always fasten the button or close the zipper.

Turn on the flashlight to your phone. It will be dark in your pocket with the light facing your body but very bright if someone takes it out. It will use up more battery too.

Use a TheTileApp.com and it can buzz your tile if your phone goes out of range. (Not sure about this. Never used it. Might have been it will buzz your phone if you leave without your keys.) I think it has a button feature that will ring the phone too.


Keep your phone on an arm band or neck holder and not in your pocket. Or just keep your phone in your hands and look at it all the time.


This does not work for all phones. If your phone has an eye or hole for a string to pass through, you can make a lanyard. A simple bit of string will already discourage most thieves. But you can go for quite sturdy metal if you are in a risk area or favor an expensive phone.

You have to be careful to always attach the end of the lanyard to a part of your clothing (or body) where it can not easily be undone.

(Phone companies, please reinstate the standard hole/eye on your phones.)

  • Was gonna answer something similar. Instead of a normal lanyard use those extension lanyards (commonly used for id/swipe cards/fobs). This way you can still take out your phone and use it without any issue. Also to get around the issue of where to tie it; you can attach a phone finger ring to the phone and tie it to that.
    – Aequitas
    Sep 24, 2019 at 1:19

Wear cargo pants with velcroed pockets over your lower thighs. Keep your phone there.

Not a silver bullet, but it's a good balance between security and convenience.


I think it's best to keep stuff in your front pockets as it's easier to keep your arms or hands in the way. It's also easier to feel if an item is still in your front pocket. However, make sure not to noticeably feel your pocket with your hand as this tips off thieves to which pocket contains your valuables. If you happen to pat your pocket, pat your empty pockets as well to throw them off.

Additionally, you can buy an iphone case with a strap. Even if you don't use the actual strap, you can attach a chain or a keychain to tether the case to either your belt, your pants, or something else. This is similar to the old wallet chain idea.

You can get a retractable keychain but this might be easier to circumvent because there's less tension. However, it's many times more secure than nothing and also more convenient when you want to use your phone. Just make sure to securely attach the reel so that it's not easy to unclip.

Also, I would recommend replacing any clip like the one in the following picture with a keyring or something more secure.

picture of a tension based clip which is easy to circumvent

Finally, I've seen retractable iphone cases but it might be better and/or cheaper just to make your own. It's probably best shop around to get a better idea.

Your friends might still try to steal your phone for fun but most thieves don't like to do extra work which is why they steal in the first place.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.