So occasionally someone will ask to use my phone just to use my camera. The last time this happened it was at work, but it can be a friend or relative that just needs a quick picture of something. While this question is mainly for camera use, I suppose it can be used for anyone wanting to use your phone for internet, phone calls, or anything else.

So when this guy asked to use my camera at work, it was because his was broke and he needed a quick picture of a part to send a customer. I just let him take the picture then I sent it to him in an email. However, before I gave him my phone I immediate began worrying about what photos I had on there. Since he was standing right there waiting for me to hand him my phone I didn't have a chance to check so I took the risk of just giving him the phone.

Now I have a girlfriend that likes me to take a lot of risque photos of her. What can I do to avoid the awkwardness if someone needs to use my phone? I don't want to say plainly "no" because I feel like that's rude.

  • 3
    Are you looking for ways to say no other than just saying "no", or are you open to letting people use your phone, but wanting to keep them from seeing things that they shouldn't?
    – Rainbacon
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 14:31
  • 4
    In these situations, is there a reason why you can't take the picture yourself, instead of handing the phone to someone else?
    – DaveG
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 15:14

2 Answers 2


There's several options. The easiest one is to just reply:

What do you need a picture of, I'll take it for you!

Don't give him the option to take the phone out of your hands. Just start opening the camera app and get ready to take the picture yourself.

If he does persist on trying to take the phone you can politely deny saying:

Sorry, I don't feel comfortable with handing my phone unlocked to other people. I don't mind taking the picture for you tho! So what exactly do you need a picture off?

Another option is to exagerate to the other side. This is highly situational and I can't advise this as a general aproach. I know I can do it with certain colleagues here but not with everyone:

You just want my phone to see if I got nudes on it right? No way I'm handing it over! laughing

You can folow this up with my first reply in this post to still help him out.

My phone allows to take pictures even if it's still locked. That way they can take the picture but can't see what else is on the phone. This depends on the OS on your phone though.


First, there is a technical solution to this specific issue presuming you are using iOS or Android. When activating the default Camera App with the device locked (I haven't tried other camera apps as the default), the user can only see images that were taken in that session, meaning, they can take and view those pictures only, nothing already in the Gallery.

Now, for the general reason of not wanting to share your phone, the Interpersonal Skill here is simple politeness.

"Sorry, I'd prefer not."

Not sharing a very personal device isn't uncommon and, presuming it is your personal device, you don't owe anyone an explanation. Though, be prepared for the asker to basically assume the exact scenario you're worried about. :()

  • 1
    Could you add what the usual outcome is when you use this technique? Have you ever had negative outcomes (asker being offended, persistent, etc.), and if so how could OP deal with that while remaining polite?
    – Em C
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 17:35

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