Tell your girlfriends and family: The 'Emergency SOS' iPhone setting could save a life.

It’s a scary thought, but at some stage in your life, you may find yourself in a situation when you need to contact emergency services. The most recent iPhone update includes a feature called ‘Emergency SOS’ and every woman – every person, in fact – should know about it.

‘Emergency SOS’ enables you to contact local emergency services wherever you are in the world, and when you finish the phone call, will send your location via GPS to anyone listed in your emergency contacts list.

According to the Apple website:

When you make a call with SOS, your iPhone automatically calls the local emergency number. In some countries and regions, you might need to choose the service that you need. For example, in China you can choose police, fire, or ambulance.

You can also add emergency contacts. After an emergency call ends, your iPhone alerts your emergency contacts with a text message, unless you choose to cancel. Your iPhone sends them your current location, and, for a period of time after you enter SOS mode, it sends updates to your emergency contacts when your location changes.

If you find you are in a position where you cannot speak – hold the line. In Australia, when an operator picks up, you will automatically be transferred to another line. There, if you’re able to listen to the automatic operator on the other end, you’ll be asked to hit 55. That way, if you are in danger, police understand the reason for your silence and how opening your mouth will invite greater distress.

Emergency services will then track you down using their own location services and arrive as soon as possible.

Here’s exactly how to activate your iPhone’s ‘Emergency SOS’ feature:

Step 1: Update your iPhone.

To access the ‘Emergency SOS’ iPhone feature, you need to update your iPhone software to the most recent available update.

To do this, go into your iPhone’s settings (the grey cog wheel icon on your home screen) and select ‘General’.

Then, select ‘Software Update’ and follow the prompts.


This process may take upwards of 10-15 minutes, so it needs to be done prior to needing the ‘Emergency SOS’ feature.

Step 2: Go into your settings and click ‘Emergency SOS’.

Image: Supplied.

Step 3: Customise your 'Emergency SOS' settings.

There are three different settings you can choose from in the 'Emergency SOS' feature.

1: Standard setting

Every updated iPhone comes with this standard setting for the 'Emergency SOS' feature.


The standard setting means that, in an emergency, you will need to manually activate the emergency services call.

2: Auto Call

Image: Supplied.

When turned on, the Auto Call setting will automatically call emergency services for you after a three-second countdown when you activate the feature.

To turn on Auto Call, swipe the Auto Call button to the right. It should then turn green (see above).


3: Countdown Sound

Image: Supplied.

The Countdown Sound will automatically be turned on (as shown in the image above) when you enable the Auto Call setting.

This means when you deploy 'Emergency SOS', you will hear three loud beeps indicating the three-second countdown.

This feature is useful in the scenario you accidentally deploy 'Emergency SOS' as it will alert you and give you the opportunity to cancel the call.


However, you may find yourself in a situation when loud noises could increase danger.

To turn off the Countdown Sound, swipe the Countdown Sound button to the left. It should then turn white (see above).

How to use the 'Emergency SOS' iPhone feature in an emergency.

Once you've turned on 'Emergency SOS' and customised your settings, here's how you deploy it in an emergency.

Step 1: Press your iPhone's 'lock button' five times.

Image: Supplied.

If you're in an emergency, press your iPhone's 'lock button' five times in a row as quickly as you can.

You can find your iPhone's 'lock button' on the top right hand side of your iPhone.

Step 2: Select 'Emergency SOS'.

Image: Supplied.

If you have chosen the standard setting (not Auto Call), the screen above will appear on your iPhone.

To deploy the emergency services call, swipe the red SOS button to the right. Your details and location will then be sent to emergency services.


If you have selected the Auto Call function.

If you have selected the 'Auto Call' option in the set up stage, emergency services will automatically be contacted on your behalf after a three-second countdown (as shown below).

Image: Supplied.

If you need to cancel your call in those three seconds, press the 'Stop' button at the bottom of the screen (as shown below).

Image: Supplied.

How to add emergency contacts to your iPhone

You can add emergency contacts from the Health app on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Health app and tap the Medical ID tab. 
  2. Tap Edit, then scroll to Emergency Contacts.
  3. Tap  to add an emergency contact.
  4. Tap a contact, then add their relationship. 
  5. Tap Done to save your changes. 

Please, be safe.

Always take normal precautions when out and about, using the 'Emergency SOS' iPhone feature should not be used in place of common sense. If you can, always call 000 first.