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How to Stop Butt-Dialing

Credit: Kim Komando

How is this still a thing when phones don’t have buttons anymore?

Once, in high school, I left my headphones plugged into my iPod while it was sitting in my backpack. Unbeknownst to me, I had jostled it in just the right direction to get it to start playing a track of bloopers I had from a radio play. This is why, during the dead silence of a test-taking period, a loud, comedic shriek suddenly emanated from my backpack. To say I wanted to disappear in this moment would be an understatement.

The reason I bring this story up is that thanks to that incident, I am now on constant watch for butt-dialing and similar incidents. There are few things more embarrassing than letting your electronics off the leash without your knowledge, to say nothing of the potential trouble it can get you in. To prevent your smartphone from taking unnecessary initiatives, remember these rules.

Credit: Scott Hilburn

First and foremost, always turn your screen off when you’re not actively using your phone. There is literally no reason for it to be on if it’s in your pocket. No, I don’t care if it’s annoying to unlock it every time; that lock is there for a reason. As long as your screen is locked, it won’t parse any contacts from your pants or butt. While we’re on the topic, turn off “tap to wake” functions. You’ve got a perfectly good power button, you don’t need to touch the screen to wake up your phone. If you have a problem remembering to turn your screen off, set the screen time-out options to turn it off quickly.

If you have any kind of peripherals connected to your phone, such as speakers or earpieces, make sure to disconnect them when you’re not using. Besides the fact that you’re wasting power leaving things on, you don’t want to accidentally answer a call only for it to end up on speakerphone. Speaking of which, be careful of peripheral shortcuts. Some smart wearables have built-in shortcuts that automatically call the last number you spoke to when activated. Turn those off if you can.

If all else fails, well, do what I did when my phone got a bad case of gremlins and kept turning itself on on its own: pull the whole battery out. Of course, at that point, you should probably just get a new phone.