Apple products too a-peeling for thieves

  • £27 million worth of smartphones are stolen every year
  • iPhones are the most popular target for thieves 
  • 45-54 year olds should show more core-tion as they’re most likely to be victims of mobile phone theft 
  • Half of all stolen gadgets are Apple devices

New analysis by Direct Line Home Insurance Plus reveals that thieves are still keeping their eyes peeled for our gadgets, with over 67,000 mobile phones stolen in the last year. This equates to 183 mobiles phones stolen across the UK every single day between March 2015 and March 20161, a seven per cent increase on the same period in last year.

Further analysis of Direct Line claims data2 reveals that phones are the most coveted items for thieves, with iPhones accounting for 28 per cent of all stolen gadgets, making it the number one most claimed for device3. iPads come a close second at 21 per cent and Samsung phones come are third on the list, making up for less than one in ten of all other thefts (6 per cent). 

Despite teens spending half their time on their phones, they are one of the least likely age groups to have their precious devices stolen. In fact, 45-54 year olds are 47 per cent more likely to have their phones stolen than average and 12 per cent more likely than the next ranking age group (35-44).

Table 1: Mobile phone owners experiencing theft in March 2014-2015 and March 2015-20164

Age group

Number of mobile phones stolen March 2014 – March 2015

Number of mobile phones stolen March 2015 – March 2016

Under 10

































Total thefts



Following the launch of the new iPhone X, with a costly starting price of £999 for the 64GB model, rising to £1,149 for the 256GB handset, it is easy to understand why thieves are attracted to these desirable and expensive items. It is predicted that these new products may drive further increases in the theft of Apple products, which have increased significantly over the last few years. In fact, Apple products accounted for approximately 59 per cent of all stolen gadgets claimed for in 2016, and half (50 per cent) of all gadgets claimed for so far this year. Since 2014, claims for Apple products have increased by seven per cent. 

Dan Simson, head of Direct Line Home Insurance Plus, comments: “Consumers can’t get enough of new Apple products, which makes them highly desirable targets for thieves, largely due to the hefty price tag that comes with their devices. A new smartphone can cost as much as a second hand car, so walking around with the equivalent of £1,000 in your pocket without insurance that covers your personal possessions poses a significant risk.”

The size of the problem is staggering, with more than 67,000 phones reported stolen to the police each year, amounting to approximately £27 million5. However, even this shocking statistic is unlikely to be a true reflection of the scale of this crime, as a large portion of thefts goes unreported. In some cases, thieves do not intend to sell on the device, but the information stored on it, so it is incredibly important for smartphone users to ensure any personal data they store on their phones is protected, with a password and not stored openly for any ‘bad apple’ thief to find.

Top five tips for protecting your personal information from thieves:

iPhone users should always download the ‘Find my Phone’ App, which can help with rapid recovery of lost items and, most importantly, allow owners to lock stolen phones remotely to protect their information

  1. Android users can find their phones using Google ‘find my device’
  2. Android users can also use apps such as ‘App Lock’ to create passwords for chosen apps, making it even harder for thieves to reach their information
  3. Smartphone users should also be wary of viruses, installing anti-malware apps to protect their phones from cyber criminals. They should also think carefully before using public wifi hotspots, and never try to access online banking apps whilst using open networks
  4. Smartphone users should also make sure their data is backed up and their phone has the most recent software update, as well as exciting new features, as these updates often come with fixes for any security vulnerabilities

Dan Simson, head of Direct Line Home Insurance Plus, continues: “Our analysis reinforces that iPhones, Samsung smartphones, and iPads are prime targets for thieves, so it is important that people have their gadgets covered should they be stolen, damaged or lost. This is why we recommend all householders double check their insurance policy to make sure they are covered if their smartphone is stolen whilst they’re out and about.”

Direct Line advises those using their mobile phones in public to be vigilant and be aware of their surroundings, as thieves are more likely to target those who look distracted or engrossed in conversation. It is also a good idea to use headphones or an earpiece so that the device can be kept safe inside a zipped/buttoned coat pocket or bag even during use. If people do fall victim to this type of crime, they should report it to the police immediately and should not attempt to chase the criminal.


Notes to editors

  1. - March 2016, table 14 & 2014 to 2015, table 1.14
  2. Direct Validation Services claims fulfilment data for Direct Line Group customers
  3. ‘Gadgets’ include all mobile phones, laptops, iPads and smart watches
  4. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office of National Statistics – age data only collected in 99.9 per cent of cases in 2014-2015 and 99.6 per cent of cases in 2015-2016 - - March 2016
  5. Calculation: 67,095 phones stolen each year (source ONS data) x average cost of a handset £402 (source Direct Line Group internal claims data) = £26,972,190

For further information please contact:

Claire Jarrett

Direct Line

[email protected]  
0165 183 2411

Olivia Shalofsky

Direct Line

[email protected]

01372 839537

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

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