You think you know your iPhone inside and out, and yet we’re still baffled to find Easter Eggs and other hidden features that Apple doesn’t publicise. However, this hidden feature will literally save your or someone else’s life: The Emergency SOS feature. In short, this feature will allow you to contact the local emergency services without unlocking your iPhone and will automatically send a text message to all emergency contacts.
Setting Up Emergency SOS
Before you can use the SOS function, you will need to make sure your iPhone is set up properly. Go into “Settings” and locate the “Emergency SOS” option. From there, tap “Set up Emergency Contacts in Health” which will bring you to the medical ID section of your iPhone’s Health app. Here, you can add any medical information such as medical conditions, allergies, height, weight and blood type. This page also lets you set your emergency contacts that your iPhone will automatically send a text message to when you use the SOS function.
On the main Emergency SOS page, you’ll also find settings for calling with the side button (for iPhone 8 and above) – for allowing your phone to instantly contact emergency services by pressing the side button five times quickly; Auto Call – which will automatically call emergency services as soon as you activate Emergency SOS; and finally, you’ll find the option to turn on/off the alarm sound when you make an emergency call.
Activating Emergency SOS
On the iPhone X, 8 and 8 Plus, press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons for a few seconds. On the iPhone 7 and earlier models, press the lock button five times quickly. This will take you to a screen with three sliders. The first is for turning your phone off. The second is for displaying your medical information (which you set in the steps above). The third is for calling your local emergency service.
Once you swipe the Emergency SOS slider, it will call your local emergency service number (note: for some regions you may need to specify a number). After the call is over, your iPhone will automatically send a text message to your emergency contacts with details of your current location. Your iPhone will update your emergency contacts if you have moved (if your location service off, it will be turned on temporarily).
Emergency SOS is also available on the Apple Watch. To activate it, press and hold the side button for a few seconds. Keep is held for a bit longer to call emergency services or swipe the Emergency SOS slider. Just like your phone, your Apple Watch will also alert your emergency contacts of your location once you finished calling emergency services.
It is highly recommended that all iPhone users enable Emergency SOS and takes the appropriate steps to set it up properly. The Emergency SOS function may save your life or someone else's one day and you’ll be glad to know of this hidden feature.