Keeping it in your pants: Top 10 smartphone etiquette tips for a first date

ZEN & TECH is one of the many popular podcasts that Mobile Nations produces on a regular basis. Here's ZEN & TECH's host, Georgia, dropping in with some helpful tips that all iMore readers should know. Enjoy!

We're geeks. We get it. Our phones, be they Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, or Windows Phone, are among the most important things in our lives. We use them for everything, all the time. But in some situations our phones can get in the way, like on a first date. So, from one geek to another, I'm going to share ten basic tips on how to keep your smartphone from ruining a potentially great new relationship... by keeping it in your pants!

Here are the bullet points, watch the video for the details!

  1. Don't use your phone during a first date. Your attention should be on the person you're with, not the device in your hand.
  2. Turn your ringer off. Turn vibration off. Turn notifications off. Go into bedside mode, do not disturb mode, or whatever it takes to keep your phone quiet.
  3. Turning your phone away isn't as good as putting it away. Really, it has to be out of sight to be out of mind.
  4. If you're expecting an emergency call, be upfront about it. Knowing really is half the battle.
  5. $#!+ happens. If you forget to turn your phone off and it goes off, apologize, put it away, and get back to your date.
  6. If your date leaves the area, that's not an excuse to jump back to your phone. If you do decide to text your friend, make sure you don't get caught.
  7. And don't post anything to a public social network your date might see, especially not without their consent.
  8. If your date leaves their phone behind, that's also not an invitation to start snooping. Take a deep breath and leave their phone alone.
  9. Pay attention to your date. Keep eye contact. Use their name. Make sure they feel like the most important person in the room.
  10. Know when to break the rules. If your date wants a picture, to bump phones for contacts, to set up a second date, then do it!

There they are, my tips for how to have a great, phone-free first date. I'd love to hear your tips too, so hit up the comments and tell me what you think! (Especially if you have any juicy phone-related dating stories to share!!)


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector and Isometric podcasts, follow her on Twitter @Georgia_Dow and check out her series at

  • My wife, wise woman that she is, once made clear to me, as I was clipping my phone holster onto my belt before going out for the evening: "A cell phone is not - I repeat, NOT - a fashion accessory." That was the last time it was ever seen on the outside of my pants.
  • +1
  • Shot this with the 5D Mark III. 50mm 1.4 for the talk, 70-200 for the b-roll. Wireless lav for audio. Really happy with the results! More to come! Any requests?
  • Can we do just a general:
    "Top 10 smartphone etiquette tips"
    I would be interested in seeing a list for that.
  • Yes we most defiantly will =) any other suggestions please feel free to let me know.
  • Rene, watching on my iPad 4, the video looked terrible: pixelated, as if a poor quality camera took it or watching on a bad monitor etc. Any idea why that is, given your pro stuff?
  • Looks fantastic everywhere I'm watching it. Maybe check what resolution you're on? The video is 720p.
  • I had the same quality issues with Ashley's Monday Morning Brief today...kept dropping in and out of good/bad video quality.
  • Video quality looks great on my MacBook. I was a videographer for years. Its so weird to me that the industry has transitioned to DSLRs to shoot video. I really can't argue with the image quality.
  • Great tips! Now all I need is a date!
  • I had a date once.
  • I own a medium sized business in the healthcare industry. My girlfriend understands that my cellphone is permanently attached to my hand, regardless of where we are. Not to sound like a douche, but the work I do (along with all the interrupted dates) affords us to live the life we live and the luxuries we enjoy.
  • Actually it is still rude and sending the message that your work and the "lifestyle" it affords is more important than the person you are with. FYI: I am a pediatrician in solo practice. I am on-call for my patients 24/7/365. But I have NEVER had a call that couldn't wait for a more opportune time to return the call. Your phone use is a choice you have made. Not a necessity!
  • I feel the same way. You should be able to give your significant other some solo time.
  • While I don't mind watching Georgia on the air (dam she is hot, no offense to her husband he probably looks alright too but I digress) these things should be common sense to the average person even the geeks
  • It would never work. He's using a Nexus. Dump him. Dump him FAST! :) Jk. The Nexus is a good phone. Is that your husband in real life? Just curious.
  • When I'm on a date, I make sure to set my "Find my Friends" to Hide so my wife doesn't show up and ruin it. :-/
  • haha, best comment I've ever read.
  • Wonder if she reads iMore ? hmmm ;)
  • The smartphone is a tool. Using it properly can make a date turn into something romantic. Keep it in your pants turned off until after dinner. Take your date to a place that is beautiful, but it is the two of you. Take the phone out, clip it to your side. Pour some wine for the both of you. Sip the wine, and when the time is right, turn the phone on, and go to your romantic music play list, and hit start, and say, may I have this dance? The rest you can figure out. This also works good if you are married. Romance is not dead, the iPhone just made it better. Have fun.
  • I totally disagree with the advice given here. If the other person is using his or her phone, then (a) they are not interested in you and (b) they are impolite. Therefore, you should just move on. And from the other side, if you find yourself wanting to use your phone, then your date isn't that interesting and so you should just move on. In other words, it's just a symptom of something else more fundamental, and so instead of focusing on the symptom, consider what it means and act accordingly.
  • I may be dating myself (lol) here, but I'm glad that when I was going through the dating part of my life, there was no distraction of smartphones. Met my wife during the university years and got married in 2004 before all this madness started :)
  • Amen! I stopped dating anyone other than my wife in 1985. The internet hadn't been invented! Listening to mix tapes on my enormous stereo was the height of cool. But the rules still hold after 28 years. You have to shut off the Tech and look into your partner's eyes and actually listen to what they are saying - and smile! PST MD
  • Thanks for this list. Maybe I'll print it out and hand it to next dope I see thumbing away on his phone while sitting across the table from a wonderful woman. I find it deeply sad that we even have to state the things on this list. "Focus on your date, not your phone" shouldn't be something we need to tell grown ups. Common courtesy and decency are good ideas, with or without a phone. Your fancy phone is not a license to be rude. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
  • Exactly. Most of those 10 tips are appropriate for any social occasion, date or not.
  • Google Glass dating tips: 1. Leave your Google Glass at home.
    2. Don't tell him/her about it unless it's absolutely necessary.
    3. Consider discarding your Google Glass if the relationship become serious.
  • We want more video blogs from Georgia!
    Even if her husband is in them too! :-)
  • agreed!