Should couples have full access to each other’s phones?

Arnav Roy
5 min readJan 8, 2024

As smart phones have become more prevalent, they are now an aspect of modern day relationships that often needs to be addressed. In this article, I give my opinion on whether couples should have full access to each other phones.


For full context, here’s the question I received:

“Hey Arnav, I recently started a relationship. I’m curious on your thoughts on trust — specifically with regards to phones. Right now, my partner and I have not had any conversation on the topic of phones so I don’t know his passcode, he doesn’t know mine, and it really hasn’t been mentioned.

Is this something I should bring up and what do you think is the right protocol with phones and significant others?”


Taking a step back to the general topic of this question — trust is everything in life, right?

Whether it’s a family, friend, business, significant other — any of those, for the good relationships, there’s always an underlying trust and belief that this person has my best interest.

Smart phones obviously represent a new aspect to relationships that wasn’t there previously. If you speak to our parents generation, most of cell phones weren’t even around when they got married so smart phones were definitely not around.

As smart phones have become more prevalent over the last 10 years or so and the technology has allowed to control so much of our life on our phone, they are definitely now an aspect of modern day relationships that needs to be addressed. So, on our question, should I bring it up? I think you should. Our smart phones are an intricate part of our daily lives.

On the second question — what’s the protocol with regards to phones -

this is a tough one for me because I think this one of those issues where it really comes down to what is right for the couple.

And I know that comes as a cop out answer and not really an answer, but there’s so much nuance to this topic, it’s really hard to have a straight forward thesis or belief on the “right way” with regards to phones and relationships because it is such a personal and dynamic topic that differs from relationship to relationship.

I think from a theoretically perspective, worrying about your partner’s phone shouldn’t be an issue if you having a loving and trusting relationship. By that I mean — if you’re wanting to see their phone to investigate things (do they have any dating apps on their phone still) or are they texting/messaging someone behind back, if you’re feeling those thoughts — that’s really not a good sign for the relationship in general, right? It doesn’t show trust exists, right?

So, theoretically, in a loving and trusting relationship, there should be no desire or need to see your partner’s phone because there should be no worry of them doing anything bad or hurtful to the relationship.

And I think if you’re constantly having to worry about whether they’re talking to other people or maybe cheating behind your back, I think there’s some evaluation you may need to do on either your trust level personally for your significant or the character of your partner. One of the two probably needs more evaluation.

So, theoretically, that’s where I stand.

Now, again, these are extremely nuanced conversations and really rely on the personal history of the individuals in the relationship. For example, I know a friend of mine who was dating an individual who had previously been cheated on twice so obviously, trust and building trust was hard for my friend’s significant other. And so she needed from him, entire openness on phones. And there’s where the theoretical best answer goes down to the drain, because there were valid reasons for her to feel that way. She needed complete transparency and openness from a partner given her previous personal history.

Also, I think in general, when you’re around a person like a significant other, you’re gonna be spending a lot of time together.

I don’t know if it’s possible to not at some point get into a situation where you need your partner’s phone. We all get into situations where our phone battery is down or dead and needs to be charged or we may not have it on us, we have forgotten it so we need to use our partner’s phone.

So, then my practical answer, is I think providing the passcode is something that almost has to be done. I don’t see how you can be in a long term relationship and not at some point have to use your partner’s phone.

I think if there’s a hesitation on your partner’s side when you bring up this conversation to share pass codes — I think you’ll evaluate his reasonings on why. Obviously there could be any sorts of reasons.

I think sensitive information might be a reason. For example, personal bank logins could be on his phone and he doesn’t want to give access to that to you because you could theoretically steal all his money.

I think in that situation, if it’s possible for your significant to delete any apps he believes his “sensitive information”, I think that’s the best way to go. Again, than that brings up other devices like maybe a personal laptop, do you guys have access to those?

The other side of this scenario is — is it fine for both individuals to not share passcodes to their phones?

I think again, depending on the couple, you can definitely make the justification for it. As we talked about before, there are a ton info on our phones — login information to all sorts of apps and things like that.

I think couples can have successful long-term relationships not ever going on each other’s phones. I think, if each sides, recognizes and respects there’s a lot of private info, and there doesn’t need to be a reason to check on the other phone’s because there’s full trust in the individual, I think that can also work.

So, that’s why my cop out answer — of couples doing what’s right for them is really where I still stand. As I said before, this topic has many layers of nuance so I think ultimately where I stand is — having the conversation definitely makes and sense, and I think realize, you both have to do what’s right for you and how you feel about the topic, I don’t think there is a one size fits all way to handle phones and relationships.



Arnav Roy

Mental health advocate, host of Grateful Living Podcast. Life Coach. YouTube Channel: Grateful Living. Instagram @aroy81547.