Despite new technologies, pocket-dialing remains as prevalent as ever

Despite new technologies, pocket-dialing remains as prevalent as ever
It's something that happens to all cell phone owners at one tine or another. You have your handset placed firmly in your pocket and the next thing you know, the phone is activated and a call is placed to one of your contacts, a recently dialed number or a random combination of numbers without your knowledge. Now, this is not the most terrible thing in the world unless you happen to reveal a secret or two that is transmitted by accident to the wrong person. For example, a pair of thieves had just recently ripped off a Target in Madison Wisconsin and while in the getaway car, bragging about where they were going to hide the ill-gotten goods, one of the crooks pocket-dialed 9-1-1 on his handset. The police heard the whole conversation and an arrest was made much easier than it might have been.

Both touchscreen and non-touchscreen phones are at fault and that is despite an option to lock the phone when it goes into your pocket that is a feature on some of the newer Android models. Chicago 9-1-1 operators complain that many of the calls they get from wireless handsets come from a pocket-dialer. There are some ways to make pocket-dialing much harder for your phone to accomplish. On both the Apple iPhone and most Android models, you can lock the screen by pressing the button on top of the device that can put your phone to sleep. Of course, that leaves you just another accidental button press away from making a call.

Besides pocket-dialing, another potentially embarrassing problem is pocket-texting. Of course, the odds that you will send a coherent sentence by accident is astronomical, but sometimes sending someone a message comprised of nonsensical words is just as bad as completing a phone call that was dialed by your butt. You would think that with all of the high tech goodness that today's smartphones offer, the handset manufacturers would have a better solution for this decidedly low-tech problem.

With the New Year coming, it is time for a fresh start. Fess up now and tell us your most embarrassing pocket-dialing or pocket-texting moment by typing it in the comments box below.

source: USAToday



1. hybris

Posts: 56; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Wow... Simple lock button and slide to unlock on screen have rarely if EVER failed me, and I take my phone outta my pocket dozens of times throughout the day. Can't believe this is such a big problem for some people.

2. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

I am a bit confused as well. With my Droid X and now the RAZR, when I am finished using the handset I press the Off button briefly and the phone goes into my pocket. The phone is not completely off (I still receive inbound e-mail and texts), but I have never had an instance of pocket-calling. (Dunno)

3. hybris

Posts: 56; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

I do the same thing. Had the X for half a year, never happened. Only had the RAZR for a few days, didn't happen. Been using my Thunderbolt since it was released and has never happened. I think people are either not paying attention, or the sensor that's supposed to activate the lock when you put it in your pocket/purse is not very reliable. I think that's an option on my T-bolt, but I don't trust it and it's really not that much hassle to press the lock button and be SURE that it's locked.

7. hybris

Posts: 56; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Actually I don't think that's an option on the thunderbolt now that I'm looking for it. I was confusing that option with the pocket mode in sound settings, which turns the volume up when it detects phone is in pocket or purse.

9. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Sometimes it happens depending on so many variables so it's not that easy to reproduce but it's still possible. How is that razr doing?

4. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

"You can't fix stupid..."

5. HTCiscool

Posts: 449; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

Ok, what is the chance that your phone can actually unlock, and dial 9-1-1, its exactly 1/729 for dialing 911, and the chances it could unlock itself first, then magically open the Phone app are extremely small. The entire chance that something like that could happen is rediculously tiny. That story is bulls**t.

11. Hello-dirt

Posts: 102; Member since: May 02, 2010

My Evo has dialed 911 and my wifes blackberry has dialed my phone multiple times. The Evo has an emergency dial option on the lock screen; therefore, I believe that it could have happened.

13. iShepherd

Posts: 38; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

It's not just the evo, all of my smartphones that I've owned has had that emergency dial option if you use a protected lockscreen. One touch and it calls 911 for you automatically. I don't know if that option is required by law but it does make it pretty easy to accidently dial 911.

19. ILikeBubbles

Posts: 525; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

clever name. :D

6. Dragonshadowstorm

Posts: 8; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

How does a capacitive touchscreen dial a number? The tip of your butt draws current from the screen creating a contact similar to a finger? xD

8. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Well my butt once made a call and ordered with an automated computer it was funny as hell and never happened anymore but is possible you just have to be lucky enough and have a trained butt capable of understanding English: P

10. HTCFreak

Posts: 156; Member since: Jul 17, 2010

I hope this won't be a problem anymore with the ICS face-unlock...

12. Hello-dirt

Posts: 102; Member since: May 02, 2010

Well...if you are "butt ugly", then you might experience a few more back pocket calls. ;-)

14. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

That hasn't happened to me for years. It used to happen with those old candy bar phones where you can more easily press the wrong button to unlock and dial a number. I cannot see it happening with clam shell or candy bar sliders. I don't know how a clam shell can accidentally flip open in your pocket. Candy bar sliders also cover the keys until you slide the keyboard open. That is not likely to happen accidentally. Now with capacitive, touch-screen phones with slide unlock, it seems to be rather difficult to first press the power/lock button, then activate the capacitive screen to slide to unlock and then another capacitive press to activate the phone and then more capacitive presses to enter a (partial) phone number and then the dial button. It seems to require a lot of things to accidentally dial a number.

15. arcq12

Posts: 733; Member since: Oct 13, 2011

phones nowadays offers a lock feature that if its in the locked state, whatever buttons you hit wont do you nothing and you need a combination of buttons to unlock it. and this is just the most basic type of lock feature that you will see in a basic phone. so in these cases, phones shouldnt be blamed..

16. thebikerboi2

Posts: 144; Member since: Apr 01, 2011

It takes skill to unlock a locked smartphone in your pocket

17. rendHELL

Posts: 304; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

takes years or training to unlock a phone with your butt... XD

18. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

i cant even tell you the last time i pocket dialed. the combination of "press the button + slide the screen to unlock" makes it nearly impossible. Only idiots that put the phone in their pocket with the screen on are going to pocket dial.

20. ILikeBubbles

Posts: 525; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

how do you accidentally dial 911?

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.