How To Discretely Dial An Emergency Number From Your iPhone

Apple has been receiving quite a bit of criticism for its Macbook lineup. The iPhone 7 has likewise been the target of quite a few jokes. iOS 10 is plagued with odd bugs. All this equals to a lot of people saying the end of Apple is near. It’s times like this when you have to remember that Apple is still paying attention to the small things. Back when iOS 8 first debuted, it brought with it a feature called Medical ID. This put essential medical information on your lock screen. It can be accessed by anyone if you ever experience a medical emergency and be helpful for anyone trying to assist you. In iOS 10.2, Apple has added yet another awesome feature aimed towards safety; Emergency SOS dialing. The feature lets you discretely and quickly dial your local emergency number when you are unable to dial it. Here’s how it works.

Emergency SOS dialing must be enabled in the Settings app. To enable it, open the Settings app and go to General>Emergency SOS. Here you will see two options; Click Sleep/Wake to Auto Call, and Countdown Sound. Turn on Click Sleep/Wake to Auto Call.

You will now be able to dial your emergency number by clicking/pressing the sleep/wake/power button on your iPhone five times. This will dial your local emergency number and also alert your emergency contacts of your situation. For added discretion, you should probably disable the ‘Countdown Sound’.

 emergency-sos-call

The ‘Countdown Sound’ plays a warning alarm as it counts down the seconds before the emergency call is initiated. It can serve as a way to warn someone, possible an approaching mugger that the police is coming, but it does compromise the discretion of the feature.

The feature is meant to help users if they are in situations that do not allow them to call for help without endangering themselves. This might be a hostage situation, a domestic disturbance, an armed intruder, or an active shooter near you. The authorities will receive a call and while you may not be able to talk to them, the call alone will be enough to alert them of a possible situation. Your emergency contacts will likely play a role in ensuring your safety once they know you are in trouble.

This feature is region restricted at present. It is available in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, UK, and USA. Users residing outside these countries will not see the Emergency SOS option in the Settings app.

You can change your emergency contacts from the Health App. iOS 10.2 is still in beta so you have to wait for the stable release to get this feature.

Editor’s note: We observed the feature was available in countries other than the ones Apple has named officially. Naturally, we didn’t go all the way and call the authorities. Perhaps it will roll out to everyone when iOS 10.2 stable version is released.

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About Lily Herman

Lily Herman
Lily Herman is a New York-based writer and editor. In recent months, her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Glamour, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, TIME, Newsweek, Fast Company, and Mashable. You can check out her website, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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