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How Much Would You Pay to Get Back a Lost Phone?

by Alyssa Newcomb /
Image: Pope Francis on Instagram
A woman holds a smartphone that shows the Instagram account of Pope Francis, in Dresden, Germany, 19 March 2016. The pope starts sharing pictures and short videos with users all over the world using the account name 'Franciscus', the latin version of his name. ARNO BURGI / EPA

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Americans collectively check their smartphone 8 billion times a day — so how would we manage if we lost it?

Cloud service company MiMedia surveyed 1,120 people to find out the answer, and the results are surprising.

Image: A man uses a smartphone
74 percent of surveyed Americans said they'd rather a thief break into their home than hack their smartphone.© Mike Segar / Reuters / REUTERS

Of those surveyed, 26 percent said they would travel more than 100 miles to retrieve a lost phone.

One-third said they would pay a stranger as much as $50 to get their phone back, while 21 percent said they would pay up to $100. Four percent of respondents even said they would pay "any amount" to get their phone back, even if it came close to the cost of buying a new one.

In fact, those smartphones are so precious that 14 percent admitted to checking their phone before they check on their children first thing in the morning.

An astonishing 74 percent also said they'd rather a thief break into their home instead of their smartphone or cloud storage platform.

When it comes to managing media, almost half of respondents confessed to having to delete photos, videos and music to clear up more space on their device.

Perhaps the scariest statistic of all: Only one-quarter of respondents said they would be able to retrieve 100 percent of the content on their phone if it was lost or damaged. Of those surveyed, 14 percent said they wouldn't be able to retrieve any content.

Our behavior doesn't seem to be getting any better: A previous MiMedia survey confirmed what we already knew: 69 percent of people use their phone while on the toilet (and one-quarter of them dropped their phone in it).

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