Calling emergency services is one of those features that you hope you never have to use on your iPhone, but knowing how to use it is essential. For many years, the process was not easy: you had to open the access code entry, then choose emergency and dial the number of your choice.
How to Use Emergency SOS on iPhone
That changed with an iOS upgrade at the end of last year, with Apple integrating a quick trigger mechanism with the power button. Interestingly, it was brought to Apple Watch first, where holding down the side button brings an option to activate the feature.
Called the SOS Emergency feature, it was first made available on iPhones in India, due to a government mandate. It has now extended to 13 other countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. Emergency SOS is on by default on all iPhones.
How Emergency SOS works on the iPhone
You can activate Emergency SOS by quickly pressing the Sleep / Wake button (as Apple calls it) on the right side of your iPhone, three to five times depending on the setting. This can be changed in the Settings application in General> Emergency SOS.
Your iPhone will determine the correct number to dial based on your geographic location and regional settings. In India, that number is now 112, which is incidentally the same as most European countries.
Once you have activated the function, your iPhone, as the default setting, will sound an alarm and start a three-second countdown. This is intended to give you the opportunity to cancel the emergency alert, in case you accidentally activated. After three seconds, the phone will automatically dial emergency services.
How to turn off the sound of a countdown to emergency SOS on the iPhone.
Depending on the emergency you might find yourself in, the loud beeping that your iPhone makes while counting back could be a problem. If you want your iPhone to dial the authorities silently, you can turn off the countdown sound, thankfully.
That is how. Go to the Settings application, and then go to General> Emergency SOS. By default, the Sound Contrast setting is on (green). Touch once or slide to the left to turn it off.
How to Specify Emergency Contacts for Emergency SOS on iPhone
The SOS Emergency on the iOS feature can also alert trusted contacts, such as family or close friends, by letting them know that you have dialed emergency services and shared your current location. If you have already mentioned the emergency contacts in the Medical Identification section of the Health application, they will appear on the SOS Emergency configuration page.
For those who have not saved these details, open the Health application from the Home screen. Choose Medical ID at the bottom right, and then click Edit near the bottom. Scroll down to find the Emergency Contacts section and tap Add emergency contact to pick up people from your contact list.
How to disable emergency SOS on the iPhone.
If it tends to be sloppy, you may be worried that you accidentally turn on emergency SOS on your iPhone. After all, in some countries, dialing emergency services without a proper cause can incur a fine. While emergency SOS can not be disabled, the autodial feature can be disabled.
Open the Settings application. Go to General> Emergency SOS. Deactivate the button to click Sleep / Wake up to the automatic call. You will notice that the following text changes to reflect that the function will be available on the screen after you quickly press the specified button, instead of automatically starting a countdown.
Once you do this, pressing the Sleep / Wake button three or five times (depending on your settings) will bring up a large button with the red SOS button on the screen. Simply slide it to the right to call emergency services, just as you would with the old slide to unlock Apple’s locking system.
Do you have any questions about the iPhone’s emergency SOS function? Let us know through the comments below.