If you suddenly find yourself in danger or in need or medical assistance, your smartphone can help you to stay safe. There are a number of Emergency SOS features available across Android and iOS devices, and today we're going to walk you through the setup process to make sure you're always prepared.
Emergency SOS on iPhone
Apple's Emergency SOS feature makes it quick and easy to contact emergency services and, if you follow the guide further down, it'll send alerts to your emergency contacts too. You can even choose to set off an alarm via Emergency SOS if you're in immediate danger, alerting those around you that you require assistance.
Depending on the specific iPhone model you own, the steps you need to take to activate Emergency SOS will differ. Find the guide that suits you best below.
Emergency SOS with iPhone 8 and above
If you own one of Apple's newer iPhone models - that's anything from iPhone 8 onwards - there are two main steps to follow:
- Press and hold down the side button (the one you use to lock your handset) and one of the volume buttons. The Emergency SOS slider should appear.
- Drag the Emergency SOS slider to call your local emergency services. In select locations, you may be asked to choose a specific service, for example fire and rescue or the police.
- If you want to trigger an alarm, or you can't reach the slider, continue to hold down the side and volume buttons instead of following step 2.
- An alarm will sound, and a countdown will begin. Keep holding both buttons down until the end of the countdown to call emergency services.
Emergency SOS with iPhone 7 or earlier
If you're using iPhone 7, or an earlier model, make sure you memorise the steps below instead.
- Rapidly press the side (or top) button. Make sure you do this 5 times.
- The Emergency SOS slider will then appear. Drag the slider across the screen to begin your call.
Adding an Emergency Contact on iPhone
After your call with emergency services has finished, your iPhone will send your Emergency contacts a text message with your current location, even if your location services are turned off.
And if your location changes, your iPhone will also send an update to your contacts 10 minutes later so they're always aware of your whereabouts.
Choosing your Emergency contacts on iPhone is extremely easy. All you need to do is open up the Health app to get started.
- To add an emergency contact, open up the Health app and tap your profile picture.
- Select Medical ID.
- Tap Edit, and then scroll until you reach Emergency Contacts.
- Press the Add Button (a green + sign) to begin.
- Select one of your existing contacts, and add in their relationship to you.
Press Done to save.
Emergency Contacts are also visible on your Medical ID, which is another feature you can set up in the Health app. Emergency services can view your Medical ID without needing your password, meaning they'll be able to get in touch with your emergency contacts and view important medical information - such as your blood type, any medication you're taking and any allergies - if you're unconscious, or unable to communicate with them.
Emergency SOS on Android devices
The steps to make an emergency call, and to access other emergency features, on an Android is likely to differ slightly, depending on the manufacturer in question. However, for the majority of Android devices - particularly those from Samsung, Google and Huawei - making a call to your local emergency services is typically possible from the lock screen.
Whether you own a Samsung Galaxy S20, Google Pixel 5 or the Huawei P40 Pro, you should see 'Emergency' or something very similar when you tap on your device's screen when locked. If you press on this, you should be able to enter your local emergency number, or quickly dial one of your existing emergency contacts, without entering your passcode.
To set up and activate your own emergency contacts, head to Settings and search "Emergency", "Emergency SOS" or "SOS Message". Once you've found what you're looking for, you can enable or disable the feature, and choose your preferred contacts.
For a wide range of Android phones, you can also switch on SOS message. Similar to Apple's feature, this will send a message containing your current location to your emergency contacts.
For Samsung users, press the power button three to four times in succession. Huawei users, meanwhile, will need to push the power button five times. We recommend consulting your specific model's user manual to find out exactly what you need to do on your phone to send an SOS message.
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