How to Setup Emergency SOS on iPhone & Use it to Stay Safe

You can use the iPhone to quickly call emergency services, like 911, and alert your emergency contacts with a set of button presses so you can quickly call for help and send your location with the iPhone on iOS 11.

The Emergency SOS feature on the iPhone will call the appropriate emergency service based on your location. In the U.S. this will make your phone automatically call 911 and it will text your emergency contact that you called and send your location to that contact. Here’s how to set up Emergency SOS on the iPhone with iOS 11.

What is Emergency SOS on iPhone?

Here's what you need to know about using Emergency SOS to call 911 from your iPhone.
Here’s what you need to know about using Emergency SOS to call 911 from your iPhone.

This feature allows you to hold two buttons for five seconds or set up a automatic call when you press the power button five times fast. this will call the local emergency services number so you can ask for the police, EMS or fire. This uses your phones location, so even if you are traveling outside of your home country you can reach the equivalent of 911 without remembering the number.

This SOS feature also works when you don’t have time to unlock your phone and get to the phone app if you feel you are in danger. This is hopefully a feature that you don’t need to use, but it’s a good one to setup.

How to Setup Emergency SOS on iPhone

How to setup Emergency SOS on iPhone.
How to setup Emergency SOS on iPhone.

Setting up Emergency SOS on the iPhone is simple, and you only have a few options to choose. On the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, you can hold two buttons to activate it, but on most other iPhones you need to click the power button five times quickly. During this process you can setup your Emergency contacts as well.

  1. Go to the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the Emergency SOS option.
  3. Turn Auto Call to On.
  4. Choose if you want the Countdown Sound on or off.

The Countdown sound will play an audible alert for three seconds before calling. If you think you want to call 911 on your iPhone without anyone near you knowing, you will want to turn this sound off. If you are worried that you will accidentally call 911, you may want to leave this sound on. We suggest leaving it on for the first week or two, to see if you accidentally press the buttons.

You can choose to alert your emergency contacts as well on this screen. You set up Emergency contacts as part of your Emergency ID in the Health app.

How to Use Emergency SOS on iPhone to Call 911

How to use Emergency SOS on iPhone to call 911 without unlocking your phone.
How to use Emergency SOS on iPhone to call 911 without unlocking your phone.

On most iPhones, you can simply press the power button five times quickly to call 911. With the countdown you will have an option to cancel. If you repeatedly test this feature you may end up skipping the countdown. This is not documented, but we called 911 while working on this guide and using the button combinations multiple times.

On most iPhones, you need to press the power button five times. On the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X, you can hold the volume down and power button for five seconds to use it.

With the countdown, you should see an option to cancel the call, before it calls 911 or alerts your contacts.  Without Auto Call turned on, you can still use this option, but you will need to touch the screen to call.

How to Turn Off Emergency SOS on iPhone

If you accidentally call 911 or your local emergency services using this feature, you can turn it off in the settings.

  • Go to the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Tap on the Emergency SOS option.
  • Turn Auto Call to Off.

That’s all there is to turning the feature off. Even with Auto Call turned off, you can click the power button five times to bring up the screen that allows you to swipe to call emergency services.

What’s New in iOS 11.3.1

What's New in iOS 11.3.1

What's New in iOS 11.3.1

The iOS 11.3.1 update fixes a major problem with aftermarket iPhone screen repairs and includes security updates. If iOS 11.3 broke touch on your iPhone, you will need to plug into your computer to update the iPhone, assuming you have a computer that is already trusted by the iPhone. 

Despite fixing the display, Apple does point the finger at third party displays warning, "Non-genuine replacement displays may have compromised visual quality and may fail to work correctly. Apple-certified screen repairs are performed by trusted experts who use genuine Apple parts. See support.apple.com for more information."

This update also includes security fixes for the iPhone and iPad which will help keep your device safe. 

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