This smartphone feature could save your life. Here's how to activate it (2023)

Medical ID

Maybe the most important feature of emergency info is Medical ID. As the name suggests, this feature lets you put in all of your medical information. You can put in your names, weight and height, your ID number, blood type, list of medications you might be taking, date of birth, medical notes and any allergies you might have. The number of types of information you can put in varies with every phone manufacturer, but the idea stays the same.

Medical ID can be accessed by anyone without unlocking your phone. The thought behind that, of course, is if you’re in distress you will need the help of somebody else. For example, let’s say somebody collapses in public and you are trying to help them. If this person has set up their Medical ID, and of course you know about the feature, you can pull out their phone, check who they are and learn important medical information like their blood type, which will be important for 911 emergency dispatchers.

This smartphone feature could save your life. Here's how to activate it (1)

What Medical ID looks like on the iPhone

The Medical ID option could also be really helpful among people with special needs, people who are prone to getting lost. These people could be your parents and grandparents, if they’ve come to a certain age. People afflicted by mental illnesses and other types of special needs people are also prone to getting lost or having an episode during which they cannot tell you who they are and if they’re having a problem.

Children get in trouble often too. If they need the help of a stranger, you cannot expect them to right away tell them if they have any allergies, or their blood type, especially with kids that are under the age of 10.

You might be asking yourself what parent could let their child go so far away that they might need the help of a stranger. But kids will be kids. They get easily distracted and are not good at following rules. You can be the best parent in the world and your kid could still get in trouble. That’s why I suggest that you also put the kid’s address in the medical notes on their phone.

This smartphone feature could save your life. Here's how to activate it (2)

Emergency calls

Speaking of kids, this next option might be the most important for them. You know how you can always make a call to 911 with any phone, even when it is locked? Well, with emergency info you can put other phone numbers that are accessible without unlocking the phone. This feature is set up in the same settings as Medical ID, and can help many, many people.

If once again, the owner of the phone is in distress, if they can’t explain to you what the problem is, you can call one of these numbers from their phone. The numbers show as contacts, so you can see if you’re calling someone’s mom or their friend, as long as these numbers are there.

Emergency calls is also very helpful if you’ve lost your phone. When someone finds it, they can easily contact one of the contacts you gave access to. Of course it all depends on the person that finds your phone and their intentions.

As someone whose brother has lost their phone twice, with emergency contacts set up, I can tell you that both times no one called to return the phone. This could be attributed to the fact that not enough people are aware of these features, and that’s why I am sharing them with you.

Emergency SOS

This function is getting more and more popular, as many phone brands start to add it to their user interface. Emergency SOS is a feature that is easily accessible on the iPhone by holding or clicking a couple of buttons. This triggers the special mode, which automatically calls your emergency hotline and then sends your location and status that you are in emergency to the contacts you chose for emergencies.

After that your phone automatically shows your Medical ID and disables your face or fingerprint unlock, accepting only your PIN/password to unlock.

If you’re a fan of thrillers and true-crime, and you’re wondering if one day you could be taken as a hostage, then Emergency SOS will give you peace of mind.

This smartphone feature could save your life. Here's how to activate it (3)

Make sure to use Emergency SOS only for an emergency.

How to enable emergency info on iPhone?

Here’s what you need to do to set up Medical ID and Emergency contacts on the iPhone:

  1. Go into the Apple Health app.
  2. Once you’re there click on your picture, which is in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Then click on Medical ID
  4. Click on Edit
  5. Add your information
  6. Choose your emergency contacts and what is your relationship with them
  7. Enable the toggle Show When Locked to show your contacts when your iPhone is locked
  8. Hit the Done button.

Now anyone can see all your medical information and emergency contacts without unlocking your iPhone. To do that one should just try to unlock your device with a swipe up, then hit the emergency button located in the bottom-left corner of the screen and then choose emergency again.

Here’s what you need to do to activate Call with Side Button and Auto Call on Emergency SOS:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select Emergency SOS
  3. Enable the toggle Call with Side Button
  4. Enable the toggle Auto Call

Here’s two ways to go into Emergency SOS mode after enabling the previous options:

  1. Hold the power button and either one of the volume buttons for 5 seconds
  2. Click the power button 5 times in a row

This will automatically call your country’s emergency dispatch hotline and then signal and send your location to your emergency contacts, after which your iPhone will show your Medical ID.

Note that on the iPhone 7 and older models you can activate Emergency SOS mode only by clicking the power button 5 times.

You can also go into Emergency SOS mode on any iPhone by holding the same combination of buttons that you hold to turn off your phone, and then drag the Emergency SOS slider to activate the mode.

This smartphone feature could save your life. Here's how to activate it (4)

How to enable emergency info on Android?

Here’s what you need to do to set up your medical information and emergency contacts on Android: (note that this process may vary on different user interfaces)

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select System
  3. Select About Phone
  4. Select Emergency information
  5. Click on Add information
  6. Fill out your info
  7. Go back
  8. Select Add contact
  9. Select the desired contact
  10. Repeat to add another contact

Like on iPhones, now anyone can see your medical info and call your emergency contacts without unlocking your Android phone. To do that one should only swipe up to unlock, click on the Emergency button located on the bottom of the screen, click the Emergency information button located on the top of the screen and you’re in. You can do the same thing by holding the power button, selecting Emergency, and following the rest of the steps.

How to enable emergency info on Samsung?

Samsung has always done things a bit differently when it comes to their user interface. The emergency info setting is no exception.

Here’s what you need to do to set up your medical information and emergency contacts on a Samsung phone:

  1. Go into Contacts
  2. Click on the section with your phone number called Me
  3. Click on Medical info
  4. Fill out your information
  5. Go back
  6. Click on Emergency contacts
  7. Click the Edit button
  8. Add your desired emergency contacts

Samsung phones have Emergency SOS too, like on the iPhone. Here’s how to activate it:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to Advanced features
  3. Select Send SOS Messages, which is located on the bottom of the menu
  4. Turn on the toggle
  5. Select your emergency contacts
  6. Go back
  7. Select emergency contact to auto call
  8. Turn on the Attach Pictures toggle
  9. Turn on the Attach audio recording toggle

There’s also an option for your Samsung Galaxy phone to send audio recordings and pictures from the front and back camera of your phone automatically to your contacts when Emergency SOS is activated. To activate these features go to Send SOS Messages and turn on the toggles for Attach pictures and Attach audio recording.

To go into Emergency SOS mode on your Samsung Galaxy phone, click the power button three times in a roll. This will send your selected contacts your location, audio recording and pictures in real time. Note that the Samsung version of Emergency SOS does not call 911.

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Author: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Last Updated: 16/10/2023

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