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Yondr Phone-Locking Pouch

Posted: January 04, 2019
Yondr Phone-Locking Pouch

I recently bought tickets to see Aziz Ansari and got a Yondr notice. Actually, more than a Yondr notice - this disclaimer covered tickets withheld until a couple weeks before the show date, and zero tolerance on late entry too - but the info about locking up my phone in a canvas pouch during his performance was the most interesting to me.

Yondr pouches have been around for a few years, but to this point I've managed to avoid the phone-free spaces they create for performers, teachers, courtroom judges, and stuck-up brides and grooms who don't want people Instagramming during their wedding. I'm sure a lot of people feel put out when told they must discontinue the use of their phone so an artist, and others in the audience, can experience an event without being distracted or flashed at or recorded. But I'm more curious than annoyed to see how the Yondr system works in person.

According to the Yondr website, the beauty of their invention is that you never have to relinquish possession of your phone, just your ability to use it. You keep the locked Yondr pouch holding your phone with you at all times, and if you need to get it out, there are unlocking bases in the lobby or outside the venue that will unlock it for you at anytime.

I guess that last bit, the ability to leave the event to access your phone if you really want or need to, makes Yondr feel justified in the forced lockdown. They also say if you set your phone to vibrate, you'll still be able to feel calls and messages coming in - the pouches don't block or jam signal. And if there's an emergency inside the venue, Yondr says there will always be trained event staff with full access to their phones to take the necessary steps.

Eh, I'm not so sure about that last part, given how many wacked out things have been happening in public venues and schools the past few years.

My main concern is what kind of lines I'll have to wait in at the end of the show to unlock and return the Yondr pouch - it's bad enough waiting in line to get in, but now I have to stand around for an hour to get out too? Looking through online forums, though, indicates this isn't a big issue. The unlocking bases unlock the pouches in a second, and most people say they didn't feel like the process took any longer than normal entry/exit.

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