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Toilet is No. 1 cause for losing your smartphone contacts

Infographic of Plaxo Mobile Trends Study
Infographic of Plaxo Mobile Trends StudyPlaxo

People have to stop bringing phones into the bathroom, because a recent survey says that's the No.1 way precious contact lists are lost.

One in three who responded to the Mobile & Online Backup Trends Study by online address book site Plaxo Inc. said they'd lost or damaged their phone, losing their contact lists, with 19 percent admitting they'd dropped their phones in the toilet.

Google did a study not too long that seemed to confirm this tendency to bring phones into the loo: 39 percent! But next time you're tempted to bring your phone into the can to catch up on your Facebook or Google+ stream, or worse — continue the conversation while you're in there — resist! Also: If you had any idea how many germs can be spread through touchscreens, it might also make you think twice.

Besides the general inconvenience of losing a device that 25 percent of Americans use to browse the Internet (instead of computers), the loss of a smartphone can be really bad if that's the only place you've stored your contacts. Survey says 55 percent said that loss is the "biggest hassle." Cloud, people, cloud! 

First of all, you should have your contacts backed up somewhere. Even if it's just on your hard drive, but better if you're using some kind of syncing service, like Android does with Gmail. That way, even if your phone disappears, at least you know how to get in touch with everyone you're going to complain to about that.

Those with smartphones do seem to understand how important this is, as 68 percent who own smartphones "back up their personal computers more than the general population." And 72 percent of smartphone owners back up their contacts/address books from their smartphone.

And of course, Plaxo would love you to use their service, which is free and handy— it imports and consolidates address books and contacts from all kinds of other places you probably squirrel away contact information for the people you know: Facebook, LinkedIn and whatever Web email the kids are using nowadays.

Naturally, there's also a mobile app for it.

Other highlights from the survey:

  • Contacts info is kept in multiple places: on PCs, laptops, smartphones, and in email and on social networks, with 71 percent storing contacts on their smartphone
  • Approximately half of respondents rely more on remote access to contacts/address book information in the last three years than in the past
  • Over the next 2 years, two-fifths expect to increase reliance on remote or cloud access to contacts/address book
  • 25 percent of respondents use the cloud for backup of their personal computer data
  • People who back up their computer data are even more likely to also back up contacts/address book information on their smartphone than those who don't back up their computer data

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