On average, people lose their smartphone once per year, according to Lookout Mobile Security.
Recently, Lookout analyzed phone loss data and found some interesting trends about where and when people lose their phones. This data is presented on a new interactive website, Mobile Lost and Found.
Lookout gathered data from its mobile security app, which is on more than 15 million cell phones around the world (mostly Android phones). In 2011, Lookout found 9 million smartphones.
When are people most likely to lose their phone? Lookout found that the vast majority of smartphone losses happen late at night, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Looks like nightlife may be a culprit.
But on holidays, or during major events such as festivals or big sporting events, people are especially likely to lose a phone. In 2011, phone losses around the world spiked on Christmas and New Year's Eve.
And on February 27, 2011, phones in Dublin, Ireland, were lost at nearly three times the normal rate during a major international rugby tournament there.
In general, throughout the United States, the five types of places where people are most likely to lose a cell phone are coffee shops, bars, restaurants, at the office or at home.
Also, the five U.S. cities where people are most likely to lose a smartphone are Philadelphia; Seattle; Oakland, California.; Long Beach, California; and Newark, New Jersey.
Where people are most likely to lose aphone may depend on which city they live in. For instance, people in Austin, Texas, are most likely to lose phones at a gas station or garage, at the grocery store or at a pizza place. Church is the third most common setting where Chicagoans lose their phones. And in Atlanta, people are most likely to lose a phone at the office.
One reason why losing your smartphone is so risky is that recent research by Symantec (another mobile security provider) showed that more than 95% of the time, people who find lost smartphones try to access sensitive data or accounts on those phones -- which can including e-mail, online banking, photos and more.
This is why it's so important to always protect your cell phone with at least a security passcode or swipe pattern.
What's the cost of a lost smartphone? Lookout estimates the average replacement cost (just the device, not counting costs associated with lost data, international phone calls, unauthorized online purchases and illicit access to online banking or other accounts) is about $200.
Consistently using a passcode or swipe pattern to lock your phone is the most basic level of protection -- not just from a random person who finds your lost phone, or a deliberate thief or snooper, but also from police.