Lock. Yours. Phone.
First things – and I don’t need to say that, but apparently I lock your phone before you put it in your pocket. I notice that people just keep their phone in their pocket without turning off the screen, which is a perfect recipe for pocket dialing. Press the button on the side of your phone – it only takes a second, and it will save your friends from some headaches.
In addition, it is important to use a passcode (and / or fingerprint, and / or face unlock) on your phone – not only to prevent pocket dials, but to prevent thieves from accessing all your personal information. You can add these security measures Settings> Touch ID and passcode On an iPhone, and Settings> Security> Screen lock On Android-based phones. (This can vary from phone to phone – Samsung devices this section is called Biometrics and Security, for example.)
You might think your phone information is not sensitive, but you will be surprised. Even if you do not use banking apps, you have your email on your phone, and if a thief gains access to your email, you have a lot of access to any account. And a device that is easy to lose portable gives neer-do-wells free reign over your information. Lock. Yours. Phone.
Turn off ‘Tap to wake’
Okay, now that we’ve been clear, let’s say you’ll turn off your phone before you turn it off – how the heck are you still dialing people?
There are some settings — or, rather, a combination of settings — that can accidentally unlock your phone in your pocket. First is the “Tap to wake,” feature that lets you wake up your phone’s screen by tapping on it (rather than pressing the physical button). Turning it off reduces the frequency of accidental wakes in your pocket, thus leading to fewer accidental calls. You can disable this feature on iPhone Settings> Accessibility> Touch> Tape to Wake (It only appears on home-button-less iPhones like X and newer), and on Android phones Double-tap Settings> Display> Lock screen display> Check phone. Samsung users can get under Settings> Advanced Features> Motivation and Gestures.
Allow your phone to auto-lock quickly
If you have a passcode, tap-to-wake alone should not cause any pocket dials. Often, it is a combination of tap-to-wake and auto-lock functionality. By default, most phones will not reuse the passcode for about 30 seconds. This means that you can lock your phone, keep it in your pocket, and if the screen wakes back up within 30 seconds, your pocket can unlock the phone with a simple swipe instead of a passcode. Bear the bad news.
To change this auto-lock setting on iPhone, head to to Settings> Display and Brightness> Auto-lock. Thirty seconds is, unfortunately, the least amount of time you have chosen – although on Android phones you can auto-lock the phone even after turning off the screen every time you turn 15 seconds, 5 seconds, or even immediately. Can be enabled. You can find under that setting Settings> Security, Tap the gear icon next to screen lock. On samsung phones, it is subject to Settings> Lock Screen> Secure Lock Settings.
Disable smart lock
Finally, many Android phones have a feature that keeps your phone unlocked – that is, no passcode is required whenever you’re at home or connected to a specific Bluetooth device (such as your car). This can be convenient, but it allows your pocket to call your grandmother more easily, so you want to deactivate it if you find that you are often dialing the pocket in those situations.