News & Press

Where UK Residents Break Their Devices the Most

Posted by
Timothy Burlee
Jun 20, 2024
Reviewed by
min. read
Table of Contents

Our tech devices are important. Not just to entertain us when we are bored and find ourselves scrolling through social media, but also as a form of connection to others. From text messages and phone calls to sharing pictures and videos, mobile phones and computers are a crucial part of our world and the way we communicate as well as store information and memories. 

Even still, some find themselves struggling to keep their tech safe. Whether it’s a cracked phone screen or a spilled drink on a laptop, mishaps with tech can at times cause you to lose all of the precious memories you had saved on them. 

That’s why the team at Secure Data Recovery set out to discover where people are the clumsiest with their devices. We understand the fear of data loss and work to help recover your most important files, photos, and more when disaster strikes. 

In this study, we focused on the UK and the residents across the four countries. We surveyed Brits to gain insight into the tech they have broken in the past, the current condition of their devices, and more. Using these responses, we created a tech clumsiness score and ranked each country accordingly. Read on to learn which parts of the UK break their devices most often. 

Key takeaways

  • Overall, 1 in 6 Brits currently have a cracked phone screen.
  • Nearly 2 in 5 UK residents would be without a phone for a week or longer if theirs broke.
  • A cracked screen, debris stuck in charging or headphone jacks, and spilled drinks are the most common mishaps with UK residents' phones.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 Brits drop their phone at least once a day.
  • Even with a case and screen protector on their phones, 66% of UK residents are worried about theirs breaking.
  • Getting dropped, spilling a drink, and losing or breaking a key on the keyboard are the most common mishaps impacting Brits' laptops and computers.

The countries who are clumsiest with their tech

reasons an external hard drive might not show up

Regardless of how careful you are, accidents happen. It isn’t uncommon for even the most graceful people to let their phones slip through their fingers, but sometimes a dropped device results from clumsiness.

In 2022, we surveyed Americans to determine where residents broke their devices most often, and this year we decided to poll people again but this time in the UK. Leading the way, earning the title of clumsiest with their tech, are Northern Ireland residents. On average, 1 in 9 Northern Ireland residents drop their phones at least once a day, and nearly 1 in 5 currently have a cracked phone screen. 

In second place, with a tech clumsiness score of 89.8 out of 100, is England. Although 55% of the country’s residents have a case and screen protector on their phone, they are the most worried in the UK about breaking their phone. Coming in third is Wales, where nearly 1 in 7 residents have had to replace their computer more than once due to breaking it. 

Mobile phones are an important part of our everyday lives. Outside of simply entertaining us during downtime, they are also crucial for keeping us connected to others. According to our study, nearly 2 in 5 UK residents would be without a phone for a week or longer if theirs broke, making it that much more critical to be careful with the devices. 

Overall, 1 in 6 Brits are currently walking around with a cracked phone screen. While many UK residents are guilty of damaging their tech, millennials are the most likely to have broken their phones multiple times in their lives. 

The Most Common Ways Brits Have Broken Their Phones

reasons an external hard drive might not show up

After discovering where UK residents are the clumsiest with their tech, we wanted to learn how devices are most commonly damaged. Overall, a cracked screen, debris stuck in the headphone or charging jacks, and spilled drinks are the mishaps most Brits have encountered.

Additionally, 47% of people have thrown their phones by accident, making it the fourth most common mishap. In fifth place is spilled food with 45% of Brits saying their meal has resulted in a broken phone. 

One of the biggest dangers to technology is water, and UK residents are no strangers to the damage it can cause, as dropping a phone in the toilet and dropping it in the sink are the sixth and seventh most common mishaps. If you are among those who have experienced your phone falling prey to a watery grave, perhaps you are among the 2 in 5 people who have tried leaving it in rice to reverse the water damage. 

Sometimes a phone replacement is required, not because of damage to the device, but because the phone is gone. Overall, nearly 1 in 4 Brits have experienced this as they lost their phone and never got it back. Similarly, 1 in 6 UK residents have left their phone in a coffee shop, bar, restaurant, or public transportation by mistake. 

On average, women drop their phones more than men, but they are also more likely to have a case and screen protector on their phones. Replacing smartphones isn’t cheap, so taking those extra precautions can make all the difference in keeping your phone safe. After all, we found the average Brit has spent $476.34 on phone replacements and repairs throughout their lives. 

The most common ways Brits have broken their computers

reasons an external hard drive might not show up

Phones aren’t the only tech devices that Brits find themselves breaking from time to time. Another popular device that falls prey to clumsy hands all too often is laptops and computers. Topping the list of the most common mishaps include getting dropped, spilling a drink, and losing or breaking a key on the keyboard. 

Eating around devices seems to be a dangerous game as nearly 3 in 10 Brits say spilled food has ruined their computer. Coming in as the fifth most common way UK residents break their devices are cracked screens, followed by debris stuck in the headphone or charging jacks (6th) and children breaking them while using the laptop or computer (7th). 

While perhaps less likely to break as often as mobile phones, the average Brit has still spent $349.53 replacing them after breaking the device. In general, England residents have spent the most money on laptop and computer replacements and repairs in the UK. 

Although data can be backed up and saved to external drives, we don’t always take the extra safety step because we think our devices are safe. Unfortunately, these accidents typically come as a surprise, which is likely why nearly 1 in 5 Brits have lost all the data on their devices after breaking them. 

The wildest ways Brits have broken their devices

In our study, we strove to consider all the ways people are most likely to break their devices, but we know sometimes the events are a bit more strange. That’s why we asked respondents to share the wildest ways they have accidentally broken their phones and computers. 

After combing through the many mishaps, we found a few that truly caught our attention. A night out can be a danger to devices, from the tight spaces causing you to squeeze between people in a club to the lessened caution as alcohol lowers your inhibitions. 

A woman in Scotland experienced this: “A guy in a bar who was flirting with [her] bit [her] phone which cracked the screen.” Phones simply don’t belong in our mouths, a lesson a woman in England learned as she, “held the phone between [her] teeth in order to use the torch to put [her] chickens in a coop in the dark and cracked the screen.”

We are not always the cause of our broken devices. We found many Brits were forced to replace or repair their phones and computers after kids and pets got their hands (and paws) on them. Check out those stories and more in the interactive carousel above.

We Can Help Recover Your Data

You drop your phone on the sidewalk on your way to work, and while it’s annoying, you know you have an upgrade available with a new phone is just around the corner. But while it can be easy to replace your tech devices, replacing lost data is not normally an option. 

From cherished vacation photos to videos of your child’s first steps, there are some files that you can’t afford to lose. At Secure Data Recovery, we specialize in hard drive data recovery, SSD, RAID arrays, smartphones, SD cards, and more. 

Secure Data Recovery is the most trusted data recovery company worldwide, with a substantial presence in the UK, and with our team of experts, you can have peace of mind. Whether your phone slips into the toilet or your pet decides to use your laptop as a chew toy, our "No Data, No Recovery Fee" guarantee is focused on helping you get your lost data back. 


In this study, we surveyed UK residents in each country to determine where people are clumsiest with their tech devices. We asked a variety of questions including the current condition of respondents' phone and laptop or computer, how much money they have spent on replacements, and more. 

We then awarded points to responses that represented damage to their devices or current poor condition. Then we averaged the points to determine an overall score. Finally, we adjusted scores for each country on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 representing the most clumsy.

News & Press
Timothy Burlee

Tech Enthusiast

Timothy Burlee is a content writer for Secure Data Recovery Services. He specializes in various topics in the data industry, including data recovery technology, storage devices, and digital forensics. Throughout his career, he has covered complex concepts and provided accessible solutions for users. Before joining Secure Data, he worked as a freelance technical writer.