This is why I don’t put a passcode on my phone (but YOU should)

This is why I don’t put a passcode on my phone (but YOU should)

I get a lot of shit as a tech blogger who won’t put passcode on my phone. There are several reasons I’ve elected not to:

  • I review phones on an often-enough schedule that there’s nothing super personal on them
  • The SIM card moves with me as the phone switches, so no SMS or call history worth snooping on
  • Setting PINs and passcodes up each time gets redundant
  • I mostly use these phones to take photos or access Google Maps, so quick access is preferable

Justifiable or not, this is just how I stubbornly operate. It’s also amounted to some comical results.



Things changed a little after I realized I had left my phone behind at an airport hotel last Christmas. Instead of calling the last-dialed number, the hotel manager went to Facebook and posted as myself. I didn’t even notice it until a friend asked if I’d been hacked.

When I called back, Mathew the hotel manager said he apologizes, but it was the only function on the phone he knew how to use because he couldn’t find the dialer or the SMS icon. Thank you, custom Android skin.

After this happened, I finally put a passcode on my latest review phone, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Still, my device tried to defy me, since you don’t need to bypass the code to use the camera.

That’s how I discovered a series of photos from TNW Europe Conference that my phone had somehow taken during my walk to lunch. I had the phone in my hand without touching the screen, and walked with my arms crossed on that brisk afternoon. The friction of it against my sweater might have somehow triggered these photographs.

It was interesting to see how another object “attached” to me witnessed my day, down to the guy who noticed me walking into the lunch area. All this without the investment of an extra lifelogging device I have no interest to check out daily.

I promise I’m not this lax with other security options: I have 2-factor authentication turned on for all accounts, I change my complex password regularly, and every other week, I remotely sign my social accounts off all connected devices just to keep track of what I’m actually using this month.

I also know most people don’t have the luxury of switching phones often, so I don’t personally advocate the lack of passcodes. You definitely should make your most intimate extension of yourself private.

One day, I’ll probably get my phone stolen and someone will try to access my bank account to some degree of success. And maybe then I’ll learn my lesson. Until that day, I’d like to think my phones have inner personalities waiting to show themselves to me, and damn if I prevented that.

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