Personal safety is something that we all care about, and technology can be a great ally in times of need. In this article, I’ll show you some of the amazing features that your iPhone has for safety, and how to use them effectively. These features are:
- Safety Check: A tool that helps you protect your privacy and security in case your iPhone is lost, stolen, or compromised.
- Emergency SOS via satellite: A feature that lets you contact emergency services even when you’re out of wi-fi or cell service range, using satellite networks.
- Crash Detection: A feature that detects if you’ve been in a severe car crash and automatically alerts emergency services and your emergency contacts.
- Emergency Call: A feature that lets you quickly make a voice or text call to 911 or other emergency numbers, with just a few taps or by using Siri.
Let’s dive into each of these features and see how they can help you stay safe.
Safety Check is a tool that you can access from the Settings app on your iPhone. It helps you stop sharing information with people and apps, review and update your Apple ID settings, and change your device passcode and biometrics. You can use Safety Check if you think your iPhone is lost, stolen, or compromised, or if you just want to do a regular checkup on your privacy and security.
To access Safety Check, go to Settings > Apple ID > Password & Security > Safety Check. You’ll see a screen like this:
Here, you can do the following actions:
- Stop Sharing: This will stop sharing your location, photos, messages, and other data with people and apps that you’ve previously allowed. You can choose to resume sharing later or revoke access permanently.
- Review Apple ID: This will let you review and update your Apple ID settings, such as your name, phone number, email, payment methods, and trusted devices. You can also check your recent activity and sign out of other devices if needed.
- Change Passcode and Biometrics: This will let you change your device passcode and biometrics, such as Face ID or Touch ID. You can also enable or disable features like Erase Data, which will erase your iPhone after 10 failed passcode attempts, or Lock Screen Access, which will control what information and actions are available on your lock screen.
Safety Check is a useful tool to protect your iPhone and your personal data from unauthorized access. For example, if you lose your iPhone or suspect that someone has stolen it, you can use Safety Check to stop sharing your location and other data with the thief, review your Apple ID settings and sign out of other devices, and change your passcode and biometrics to prevent them from unlocking your iPhone. You can also use the Find My app or iCloud.com to locate, lock, or erase your iPhone remotely.
You might also like to read: How to Make Your iPhone Battery Last Longer: A Guide Based on Scientific Research
Emergency SOS via satellite
Emergency SOS via satellite is a feature that lets you contact emergency services even when you’re out of wi-fi or cell service range, using satellite networks. This feature is available on iPhone 13 models and later, and requires a compatible satellite network and a subscription plan. You can use Emergency SOS via satellite if you’re in an emergency situation and you can’t reach 911 or other emergency numbers by regular phone or text.
To use Emergency SOS via satellite, you need to do the following steps:
- Enable Emergency SOS via satellite in Settings > Emergency SOS. You’ll see a screen like this:
- Choose your satellite network provider and sign in with your account. You’ll see a list of available providers and plans, such as Globalstar, Iridium, or Inmarsat. You can also learn more about the coverage, costs, and limitations of each provider and plan.
- Turn on Satellite Mode by swiping down from the top right corner of your screen and tapping the satellite icon.
- Wait for your iPhone to connect to a satellite network. You’ll see a status indicator on the top left corner of your screen, showing the signal strength and the network name. You’ll also see a message telling you that you can only make emergency calls and texts in Satellite Mode.
- Make an emergency call or text by pressing and holding the side button and either volume button until you see the Emergency SOS slider. You can also say “Hey Siri, call emergency services” or “Hey Siri, send an emergency text”. You’ll see a screen like this:
- Slide the Emergency SOS slider to call the nearest emergency services, or tap Emergency Text to send a text message with your location and a preset message. You can also tap Contacts to choose an emergency contact from your list. You’ll see a screen like this:
Emergency SOS via satellite is a lifesaving feature that can help you get help when you need it most. For example, if you’re hiking in a remote area and you get injured or lost, you can use Emergency SOS via satellite to contact emergency services or your emergency contacts, even if there’s no wi-fi or cell service available. You can also use Emergency SOS via satellite to report a fire, a crime, or any other emergency situation that requires immediate assistance.
Crash Detection is a feature that detects if you’ve been in a severe car crash and automatically alerts emergency services and your emergency contacts. This feature is available on iPhone 12 models and later, and requires an active cellular plan and location services. You can use Crash Detection if you’re driving or riding in a car and you get involved in a serious accident.
To enable Crash Detection, go to Settings > Emergency SOS and turn on Crash Detection.
Here, you can do the following actions:
- Choose your emergency contacts: You can add or remove people from your emergency contacts list, which will be notified if you’re in a car crash. You can also choose whether to share your Medical ID information with them, which can include your name, age, blood type, allergies, medications, and other health details.
- Choose your emergency services: You can choose which emergency services to call if you’re in a car crash, such as 911, 112, or 999, depending on your country or region. You can also choose whether to share your location and Medical ID information with them, which can help them find you and provide better care.
- Choose your sound and vibration settings: You can choose whether to play a sound and vibrate your iPhone when Crash Detection is activated, which can help you confirm that your iPhone has detected a crash and is calling for help.
Crash Detection works by using the sensors and microphone on your iPhone to detect the impact and sound of a car crash. If your iPhone detects a crash, it will do the following actions:
- Display a countdown timer on your screen, giving you 10 seconds to cancel or confirm the crash. You can also say “Hey Siri, I’m OK” or “Hey Siri, call for help” to cancel or confirm the crash.
- If you don’t cancel the crash, your iPhone will call the emergency services that you’ve chosen and share your location and Medical ID information with them. You’ll also hear a loud siren sound to alert nearby people that you need help.
- If you’ve added emergency contacts, your iPhone will also send them a text message with your location and Medical ID information, and let them know that you’ve been in a car crash and that emergency services are on the way.
You can also set up your Medical ID and your emergency contacts in the Health app, so that your device can share your location and medical information with emergency services and your contacts when a crash is detected. To learn how to do this, see Create a Medical ID in the iPhone User Guide.
Emergency Call is a feature that can make a voice or text call to 911 or other emergency numbers from your iPhone or Apple Watch. It works on any iPhone or Apple Watch model with a cellular connection or Wi-Fi Calling with an Internet connection. On iPhone 14 or later (all models), you can even use Emergency SOS via satellite to text emergency services when no cellular and Wi-Fi coverage is available.
How to activate Emergency Call
There are different ways to activate Emergency Call depending on your device and your location. Here are some of the most common methods:
- On iPhone 8 or later, press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons until the Emergency SOS slider appears. Drag the Emergency Call slider to call emergency services. If you continue to hold down the side button and volume button, instead of dragging the slider, a countdown begins and an alert sounds. If you release the buttons after the countdown, your iPhone automatically calls emergency services.
- On iPhone 7 or earlier, rapidly press the side (or top) button five times. The Emergency Call slider will appear. Drag the Emergency SOS slider to call emergency services.
- On any iPhone, swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen (or swipe down from the top-right corner on iPhone X or later) to open Control Center. Tap the Emergency SOS button and confirm that you want to call emergency services.
- On any iPhone, ask Siri to call emergency services. For example, you can say “Hey Siri, call 911” or “Hey Siri, call an ambulance”.
- On Apple Watch, press and hold the side button until the Emergency SOS slider appears. Drag the Emergency Call slider to call emergency services. If you continue to hold down the side button, a countdown begins and an alert sounds. If you release the button after the countdown, your Apple Watch automatically calls emergency services.
- On any iPhone or Apple Watch, text emergency services by opening the Messages app, tapping the New Message button, entering 911 or your local emergency services number in the To field, and typing your message. Tap the Send button to send the message. Note that this feature is not available in all countries or regions, and you might receive a bounce-back message indicating that the text didn’t go through. See the Apple Support article Text 911 on iPhone or Apple Watch for more information.
After the call or text ends, your iPhone or Apple Watch alerts your emergency contacts with a text message, unless you choose to cancel. Your device sends your current location, and for a period of time after you enter SOS mode, your emergency contacts receive updates when your location changes.
In this article, I’ve shown you how to use two amazing iPhone features that can save your life in an emergency: Crash Detection and Emergency Call. These features can detect if you’ve been in a severe car crash and alert emergency services and your contacts, or make a voice or text call to 911 or other emergency numbers from your iPhone or Apple Watch. They can also share your location and medical information with emergency services and your contacts, if you choose to do so. These features can be very helpful in scenarios where you’re injured, trapped, or unable to call for help yourself.