I have a fairly large collection of cell phones that I manage. I'd like an easy way to label the back of each one with its phone number. I realize the phone numbers are easily accessible in the phone's OS but in many cases the phones will be off -- so I need an easy way to determine the phone's number via quick visual inspection.

Things I've Tried

  • Avery Labels: They disintegrate after the phone is used for a while, presumably from hand sweat. Ink smears.
  • Scotch Tape: I tried placing transparent scotch tape over the Avery label or other piece of paper. Kind of works on flip phones but with iPhones, something about the material used to construct the back of the phone prevents the tape from sticking for any length of time.
  • Label Maker: Tried a cheap Dynmo label maker. The labels don't adhere to the back of the phone. They actually pop/fall off within minutes.

Seems like a ridiculously simple problem but can't find a technique that works. The solution doesn't have to be pretty or elegant; I just need to see the phone's number on quick visual inspection so I can grab and power on the phone I need.

  • 1
    If the Avery labels stick, but the problem is their durability, why isn't clear tape trimmed to the size of the label an option? Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 17:20
  • What seems to happen is that the tape starts to peel from the phone. I'm not sure why. Once there's a tiny peel, everyday use seems to make it worse and then it gradually starts falling off. Maybe I'm just using garbage tape. Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 20:05

10 Answers 10

  • permanent marker
  • 3D printed phone case with the number embossed
  • vinyl stick-on letters
  • plastic phone case with Dymo tape glued to it using 2-part epoxy
  • Dymo Letratag printed labeling tape is available in a more-adhesive 'permanent' version.

You can use plastic zipper pouches with labels like the one below. enter image description here

You can write the numbers in the labels and place the phones inside the pouches.

This acts as a protective cover for your phone as well as avoid making markings on your phone.


If the back of the phone is metal, it can be engraved. If it is glass, it can be etched.


HACK: Customize Each Cellphone Wallpaper/Lockscreen Design with the Phone Number.
(The number can't come off 'cuz it's electronically IN and ON each one.)

There are several different ways to do this available online with a search for 'custom cellphone background/wallpaper'

While the number is not shown while the phone is off, the number is immediately available as soon as you apply power.

Storing the phones (physically) in numerical (or other) order according to your preference will allow you to quickly access each of them.

Good Luck.


Probably not the cheapest, but a rather fancy solution:

Custom phone cases - while my phone sports a photo from my collection, you could simply add the number, either as text or as part of a complete design.


HACK: Make a Sandwich.

Write the phone # number directly on the cell phone Corning Gorilla Glass™ screen before you apply the screen protector. The number would be protected by being under the tough, smooth plastic. The touch screen would still work through the marker dye.

Good luck.


Avery No-Iron Fabric Labels are very durable, because they are made from plastic, not paper. They survive all manners of chaos, dirt and abuse from my young child. They hold up to the heavy cycle on our washing machine and the dryer. They even hold up to the dishwasher. By the time my kid grows out of their clothes, the fabric label is about the only thing left.

We have applied these labels to nylon bags, stainless steel water bottles, and even reusable freezer packs for kids lunches.

Avery fabric Labels


I would write on them with a permanent marker, and if you find that rubs off, try using an oil-based paint marker. If that rubs off, do it again, but wait a few hours then cover it with a layer of clear nail polish.

No matter what you try, wipe the surface with alcohol first.


If your phones have a loop for attaching cell phone charms, you can use that spot to attach a hanging label like this:

hanging labels

You can write the phone number on the label. Colour coding them can make it even simpler to quickly grab the one you want. If the paper label rips or wears out, they're cheap, so you can add a replacement.

You might want to put some research in to finding labels large enough for your purposes and getting wire, thread, or string small enough to put through the charm-hanging slots on your phones.


Get a cheap transparent phone case and slip a piece of paper with the required details between the phone and the case.

This hack doesn’t require special adhesives, doesn’t mark the phone, and doesn’t hinder the normal operation of the phone.

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