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Seven ways an iPhone could save your life

Lynn Wright / 04 December 2015 ( 21 March 2017 )

Apple’s iPhone is a mobile marvel, but did you know it could even save your life?

Using the emergency call feature on an iPhone
If faced with an emergency in a remote area with poor mobile reception, send a text message instead of dialing 999

From making calls to checking emails, Apple’s iPhone is the digital equivalent of a swiss army knife. And much like that multi-function tool, the iPhone can even help in an emergency.

1. Ask Siri to call for help

If you can’t reach your phone and have an iPhone 6S, Siri can call for help for you. Just say ‘Hey Siri’ and tell it the number to dial. 

In 2015, a US teenager who was trapped under his truck with his iPhone in his back pocket, used Siri to dial the emergency services. To use Siri this way, enable voice activation by tapping Settings > General > Siri and turn on Allow ‘Hey Siri’.

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2. ICE your iPhone contacts

It’s always a good idea to have an ICE (in case of emergency) contact on your iPhone. Medical staff will use this to contact the person for your medical history. 

Tap Contacts and then the plus sign + to add a new contact. In the name field, type ICE (or ICE 1 if you’ve more than one ICE contact), then add their number.

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3. Add a Medical ID

New iPhones (and iPhones running on the iOS 8 operating system update or later) include Medical ID, which lets emergency staff view medical information, such as conditions and allergies, along with emergency contacts. This is handy if your iPhone has a screenlock that prevents others from accessing your ICE contacts. 

The Medical ID page can be found on the Emergency Call screen, which is accessed by tapping Emergency at the bottom of the Lock screen.  

To create a Medical ID, tap the Health app on your iPhone and then Medical ID at the bottom of the screen. Tap Create Medical ID, add the relevant information and turn on Show When Locked to make your Medical ID available from the Lock screen.

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4. Use the Health app

The iPhone’s Health app keeps all your health information in one place – useful for monitoring your health and allowing medical staff to view medical conditions. 

Data from fitness, nutrition and health-tracking apps such as heart rate monitors is automatically added, as are details of your physical activity compiled by the iPhone’s own step-tracking sensors. 

You can add data manually, by going to Health > Health Data > Vitals > Add Data Point.

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5. Turn on location services

Location services use your iPhone’s built-in GPS to track your location – useful in an emergency should you need to know where someone is. 

Free personal safety apps, such as bSafe, use location services to monitor your movements when out, alerting nominated friends should you need help. 

Alternatively, if you go missing, Apple’s Find My iPhone feature allows others to pinpoint the location of your iPhone and start looking for you.

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6. Send an emergency text

If faced with an emergency in a remote area with poor mobile reception, send a text message instead of dialing 999. 

Texting requires less signal strength and your iPhone will keep trying to send your message so there’s more chance of it getting through. 

Sign up to the free EmergencySMS ( service, which relays your text message straight to 999 operators.

7. Use health advice apps

There are tons of emergency advice apps available for your iPhone. 

The British Red Cross app offers essential first aid tips and the British Heart Foundation PocketCPR app guides you through life-saving CPR.

Diabetes Buddy can help you manage your diabetes, while the NHS’s symptom checker app helps you decide if it’s time to see a doctor.

For more useful tips and information, browse our technology articles

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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