The new iOS 11 Emergency SOS shortcut is proof that Apple is dedicated to using the latest technologies for health and safety. The new feature lets you press the sleep/wake button five times to quickly dial 911.
This is not a new feature since Apple Watch got it last year starting with watchOS 3. However, it does have some limitations. To access emergency services you would need to use the side button but the Watch had to be connected to a trusted Wi-Fi network, have Wi-Fi Calling enabled and also the paired iPhone had to be nearby. These are a lot of requirements which make it useful only when you’re home, at work or at another of your frequent locations where Wi-Fi is available. Also, not every iPhone user owns an Apple Watch.
Finally, the iPhone is getting the Emergency SOS feature and it seems much more functional in this case.
How to use the iOS 11 Emergency SOS shortcut
Open the Settings app and select the “Emergency SOS” option.
Enable the “Auto Call” option and then you can also enable “Countdown Sound” if you find it useful – it may help prevent accidental calls, but it can also be very risky to have it on in situations that involve assailants.
If you ever want to disable Emergency SOS, you just need to return to this screen and toggle off “Auto Call”.
At this point, it would also be a good idea to set up Emergency Contacts in the Health app if you haven’t already. To do this, click on the related shortcut in the Emergency SOS settings screen or open the Health app, switch to the Medical ID tab and select “Edit” in the Emergency Contacts section.
To continue, tap on “add emergency contact” and select one of your contacts. You can also add multiple contacts if you need to. Once you’ve added your mergency contacts, tap on “Done”.
With all of these settings in place, you can press the sleep/wake button five times in a row and after a 3-seconds delay, your iPhone will contact the emergency services. The countdown can be canceled by tapping on the X button and then one more time on the “Stop Calling” option.
If you’ve also set up Emergency SOS contacts, once the 911 call ends, they will receive a text message with your current location as well as location updates as you’re moving. Of course, you have the option to cancel this as well.
What are your thoughts on the new iOS 11 Emergency SOS shortcut and options? Do you plan on using it?