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Starfield: How to pickpocket

Learn how to pickpocket in Starfield

Marika Boros speaks to the player character in Starfield.
Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

Want to know how to pickpocket in Starfield? If you've played past Bethesda games, then you'll know that there are few things more satisfying than stealing a key directly from an enemy's pocket. Of course, you can pickpocket in Starfield, but it isn't as simple as you might expect. If you're trying to pickpocket an NPC but can't quite seem to figure out how, then you're in the right place!

In this guide, we break down how to pickpocket enemies in Starfield, so that you can grab goods from enemy pockets without breaking out into a massive fight.

Was Starfield worth the wait? Liam and Alice B discuss this question - and more - in the video above.Watch on YouTube

How to pickpocket in Starfield

To pickpocket in Starfield, you must take the Theft skill. After unlocking Rank 1 of this skill, you can simply approach an NPC while sneaking and interact with them (A on Xbox) to look in their inventory.

If you don't want to spend a skill point on the Theft ability to unlock Starfield pickpocketing, you can also get it for free by taking either of these Starfield Backgrounds: Cyber Runner and Gangster. Selecting either of these classes means you will start with the ability to pickpocket NPCs.

While looking in an NPC's inventory, the following colours will denote the difficulty of Starfield pickpocketing:

  • Blue: Very easy
  • Green: Easy
  • Yellow: Medium
  • Red: Hard
  • Grey: Impossible

Rank 1 of Theft unlocks Starfield pickpocketing, and each subsequent rank grants you an additional 10-20% chance of succeeding. You can unlock Theft with your very first skill point, so you can get it very early on if you want to follow a Rogue-ish playstyle.

The skill for Theft allows you to pickpocket smaller items from an NPC, such as food or money. However, once you reach Theft rank 4, you can also pickpocket holstered weapons, effectively disarming an enemy before they even know you're in the room. This is an extremely useful tactic to bear in mind if you're preparing to fight an enemy or a group of enemies.

To successfully pickpocket in Starfield, you should aim to remain hidden. You can do this by sneaking (B on Xbox). However, sneaking does not automatically make you undetectable. To unlock the stealth bar, which denotes how hidden or visible you are, you must spend a skill point to unlock the Stealth skill.

Each rank in the Stealth skill will also make you 25% harder to detect while sneaking, and remaining hidden will increase your odds of successfully pickpocketing something. So, while it isn't strictly necessary, the Stealth and Theft skills go hand-in-hand for the thieves among us.

NPCs will only turn hostile if you fail to pickpocket something. Succeeding or simply looking in their inventory without taking anything will not make NPCs aggressive. You can also save your game before an attempt and reload if the NPC notices you. Not that we condone save-scumming particularly, but you do you!

That wraps up our guide on Starfield pickpocketing. For more, take a look at our guides on how to get the boost pack in Starfield and how to fast travel in Starfield. We've also got handy guides on the best mods, console commands and the Starfield romance options.

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