Nearly half a million Brits had phones stolen last year


Over a third (32 per cent) smartphone owners take no security measures with their phone

Almost half a million people (446,000) in the UK had their phones stolen last year, but figures show mobile thefts are at a 10-year low.

This is according to mobile insurer Protect Your Bubble, the firm analysed data from the annual Crime Survey for England and Wales, which surveys 30,000 people annually to track trends in crime.

Young people are more likely to have their devices stolen. Adults aged 18-21 saw their smartphones stolen at a rate of 2.4 per cent, women in this age group are more vulnerable. Around two per cent of 22-24 year olds have suffered smartphone thefts.

Thieves favour pickpocketing and snatch theft with 40 per cent of phones stolen this way. In comparison, only five per cent of phones are taken through muggings.

Popular targets

Thefts where a particular device was targeted – outside of pickpocketing and burglaries – reveal the HTC M8 and Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, are respectively the most popular targets for thieves. At third and fourth place was the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6.

Figures reveal 35 per cent of devices are lost by leaving them unattended on public transport and places. Around 22 per cent suffer loss in bars and clubs, 17 per cent on the street and 15 per cent at work.


Smartphone theft peaked at 897,000 from April 2008 to March 2009. In 2017 that number has been halved. Home Office research suggests reduction in loss is down to better manufacturer security systems from Apple and Samsung, impacting the black market for smartphones, rendering most smartphones unattractive to thieves.

Just over half of users (53 per cent) have a pin code protecting their devices and only a fifth (21 per cent) use a tracking app. Although, a third (31 per cent) take out insurance, but almost the same proportion (32 per cent) take no security measures at all.

Protect Your Bubble head of UK Rob Basinger said: “Given that most flagship smartphones cost more than £500 to replace, it can be an expensive loss. Taking a few minutes to activate your phone’s in-built security technology is time well spent, while targeted insurance gives people a way to protect themselves financially as well.”