The U.S. Transportation Security Administration new procedure to keep us safe in the skies means any electronic device larger than a cell phone has to come out of your carry-on bag, just like you’re already doing with your laptop.

Electronics bigger than iPhones now subject to laptop-style separate screening

TSA adds tablets, ebook readers, handheld games, more to separate screening

According to the TSA, running iPads and other tablets through X-ray scanners in their own bin, like laptops, gives them a better look at the devices. The TSA said in a statement,

TSA officers will begin to ask travelers to remove electronics larger than a cell phone from their carry-on bags and place them in a bin with nothing on top or below, similar to how laptops have been screened for years. This simple step helps TSA officers obtain a clearer X-ray image.

The procedure was tested in ten airports around the country and now the TSA is ready to roll it out everywhere. The new policy will go in place at all airports “during the weeks and months ahead.”

TSA Precheck travelers are exempt from the new policy, so they’ll be able to pass through security checkpoints with their laptops, tablets, ebook readers, and handheld game consoles in their bags. It costs US$85 to sign up for TSA Precheck, but some credit cards and loyalty programs offer discounts.

Placing each electronic device in its own x-ray bin will speed up the screening process, according to the TSA. That sounds like a recipe for longer lines and slower screening, especially during heavy travel times like holidays—and another reason why TSA Precheck is important for frequent fliers.

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Lee Dronick

Geoduck, I don’t recommend arguing with them about it 😀


Understood, but the line is “larger than a cell phone”.

Lee Dronick

”If you have an iPad with cellular, is it a phone? You can make calls on it.”

I don’t think that the ability to make calls is the concern. The tablet can hold more explosive materiel than the phone.


It does make me wonder though. If you have an iPad with cellular, is it a phone? You can make calls on it.


Ok. What’s doesn’t larger than a cell phone mean? Is a iPhone Plus a large cell phone or larger than a cellphone? Are all cellphones excluded regardless of their size? I know I’m splitting hairs here but with the TSA anything can happen.