The iPhone has an Emergency SOS feature. This feature has been added to iOS to help people in distress contact local emergency services quickly and easily. In case you ever need to use the Emergency SOS feature, we’ll show you all you need to know below.
How to use Emergency SOS
To use Emergency SOS, you have to access the slider from the Power menu. This is the screen where you swipe up to turn off your iPhone.
To access the emergency slider on iPhone 8 or later, press and hold the side button and the volume up button. Slide the Emergency SOS slider to the right of the screen and this will make the call.
On an iPhone 7 or earlier, press the Sleep/Wake button five times and the menu will appear. Then slide the Emergency SOS slider to the right of the screen to make a call.
If you’re still stuck at this step, Apple has a guide on its support pages to help you further.
What is Emergency SOS feature?
Emergency SOS is an iOS feature that allows users to contact emergency services in distress from the power screen. The feature appears below the power slider, which you can swipe up to activate Emergency SOS.
Once you use this slider, your iPhone will automatically call local emergency services without the need for you to dial a local number. This means you can use this feature while you are abroad, and it will automatically call the emergency services of the country you are in.
Emergency calls initiated through the feature are placed like normal emergency calls. This means that if your iPhone can’t connect to your own provider, the call will connect to another network.
You can also enable the option to make calls if you hold down the power button (or power combination) for five seconds. This won’t require you to use the slider or interact with the screen in any way; Perfect for if you need to discreetly make calls or you can’t reach your phone.
After a call with emergency services ends, your emergency contacts will be notified via text message, unless you deselect this option. If your emergency contacts are alerted, your iPhone will share your location with those contacts as long as your iPhone is on and in SOS mode. You can stop sharing your location using the option in the status bar.
A similar feature called Emergency SOS automatically activates on some iPhone or Apple Watch devices from 2022 onwards when you’re in a car accident. Dubbed Car Crash Detection, this feature will bring up the emergency slider and auto-call the authorities after ten seconds if it detects a serious car accident.
How to make sure auto call is set up
Auto Call allows you to make emergency SOS calls on your iPhone without the need to touch the screen or slider. If you hold down the buttons used for emergency SOS for five seconds, an emergency call will start automatically.
To make sure Auto Call is on—or to turn it off if you don’t want to use it—open the Settings app. From here tap on Emergency SOS and then you will see a toggle for Auto Call. If Auto Call is on, the toggle will be green and to turn it off, it will be grayed out.
You will be able to tell whether auto call is working or not when you try to use the feature. Your iPhone will vibrate, rather violently, at each second of the countdown before it should be called. The siren will also sound in the last three seconds.
How to set up emergency contact
If you don’t already have Emergency Contacts set up on your iPhone, this is another useful feature to have in case of an emergency. As the name suggests, it lets you set up a list of emergency contacts in case of an emergency.
Once you have set up your Medical ID, you will find your list of emergency contacts there. Your emergency contacts are also notified if you use Emergency SOS, so it’s useful to set them up in advance.
To add an emergency contact, open the Health app and tap on your profile in the top-right corner. Find the Medical ID button and tap it. Tap Edit, and then find the Emergency Contacts section.