iPhone 3

How To Prevent Butt-Dialing

Pocket-dialing is embarrassing — no ifs, ands or butts about it. Don’t be the butt of the joke — lock your phone before stowing it in a pocket so it doesn’t randomly dial someone.

I’ve done it, you’ve done it, and now the president’s lawyer is guilty of it too — I’m talking, of course, about butt-dialing. Butt-dialing, or “pocket-dialing” as it’s called in politer circles, is the result of a perfect storm of bad smartphone habits that starts with forgetting to lock your device. Next you toss your unlocked phone into a pants pocket (often a rear one). Then, as you move around with your unlocked phone shifting in your pocket, taps and bumps combine with static electricity and a bit of moisture to fool your phone’s touchscreen into thinking it’s being pressed, pinched or zoomed. From there, it’s really just a crapshoot in terms of which app your phone opens or who it decides to call. In Rudy Giuliani’s case, the former mayor’s phone dialed a reporter Giuliani had recently spoken with. The call went to voicemail, capturing part of a chat between Giuliani and an associate. Butt-dialing happens to everyone, so here are four ways to make sure it’s not your behind on the line when it does.

Forgetting to turn off your phone’s screen before pocketing it is the first step to an accidental butt-dial.

If everyone would just remember to hit the power button to turn off their screens before pocketing their phones, we could leave butt-dialing behind us. But I get it — the whole point of owning a phone is convenience. Thankfully, both iPhones and Android phones have an auto-lock setting that can turn your screen off for you. iPhones will turn off their screen and lock the phone in as little as 30 seconds with no activity. Android phones have an even shorter option: 15 seconds. Depending on how you use your phone, setting auto-lock to 15 or 30 seconds may be more trouble than it’s worth. For example, if you read a lot of news or e-books you may find your phone screen going dim before you’re finished reading the page you’re on. But if you want to avoid the shame of pocket-dialing, you may want to try and adjust the time setting so it works for you. Here’s how to change the auto-lock or sleep setting on your iPhone or Android: 1. Open Settings.2. Tap Display or Display & Brightness.3. Tap Sleep or Auto-Lock or Screen timeout (your phone may call it something slightly different).4. Choose the shortest interval you feel comfortable with.

If you don’t have a security lock on your phone, set one. Not securing your phone with a security lock can leave you vulnerable to crooks and snoops and makes your phone more likely to unlock itself in your pocket. Adding a passcode or requiring a fingerprint or facial identification to unlock your phone makes butt-dialing practically impossible, so long as you lock your phone before you pocket it.


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