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How to Setup and Use Emergency SOS [Video Tutorial]

14th March 2021

Jacob Woolcock



In this short and easy-to-follow tutorial I’ll show you how you can set up and use the Emergency SOS mode on your iPhone. This incredibly helpful tool can be set up to automatically ring the emergency services, text your location to your emergency contacts and play a loud siren from your iPhone speaker. This isn’t something I hope you ever need to use, but it’s worth setting up for your own peace of mind should the need ever arise for it in the future.

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Here’s a quick guide on how to set up and use the Emergency SOS feature built into your iPhone. This incredibly important feature lives in Settings under the Emergency SOS heading, so scroll down a little bit to find that. Now, by default, Emergency SOS works when you hold the lock button and the volume up button together for a few moments. This is the same way you’d normally turn off an iPhone. Now, on that shutdown screen, you have an Emergency SOS bar, and if you slide that across to the right, it will automatically ring the emergency services in your area. This is obviously quite a handy feature, but it does rely on you looking at your phone screen to make it work. So, we’re going to change the settings slightly.

So, jump back to the Settings app, and here, we’re going to turn on “Use with Side Button.” That means you can now tap the lock button five times in quick succession to activate Emergency SOS mode. We can then, if we want to, activate Auto Call mode as well. That means you haven’t got to look at your screen, you haven’t got to have your phone out in your hand; you just tap the side button five times, and within three seconds, it will start automatically calling the emergency number in your area.

We also have the option here to enable a countdown sound. This makes a very loud audible noise, which could act as a great deterrent if ever you need it. Let’s have a quick listen to what that sounds like, but I’m not going to go light the way down to one, so I don’t want to call the emergency services for this demo. So, I’m going to tap that lock button five times in quick succession, and you should start to hear this noise.

Obviously, we’ll cancel that now. We don’t want to ring 999, but you get the idea of what a loud sound that is. I’ve actually had to bring the volume right down for this video, but that is incredibly loud. The final option here is to configure emergency contacts. Now, these are contacts who will get a text message with your current location if you have to use this feature. For me, I’m going to choose my fiancée, Safi, and we do this in the Health app. So, tap on that button which will open up Health, and then on your Health ID card, you’re going to edit and choose personal emergency contacts. Go into Address Book, search for people you want, you can have multiple contacts, and then you’re going to choose your relationship to them. This is really handy for a number of reasons, but for this example, it will send them that message immediately.

And that’s it, Emergency SOS is configured and now working on my phone. I really hope we’ll never have to use this, but it’s that peace of mind of knowing that it’s there, it’s activated, and it’s ready should you ever need it. That’s all from me for now. I hope you found this video useful. Please do like it and subscribe down below, and I’ll see you in the next one.

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