SOS on Your iPhone Could Save Your Life

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A person using SOS on their iPhone

For better or worse, technology has become a part of our daily lives for productivity and convenience. However, SOS on your iPhone could save your life.

Like many safety mechanisms, you hope you don’t need to use them, but you’re glad they’re available when you do. If you’ve yet to set this up on your phone, you may want to consider it.

Hearing a hiker’s story convinced us to start using the SOS setting on our iPhones from now on. Will it do the same for you? Let’s see!

What Is the SOS Feature on iPhones?

SOS on iPhones is a built-in feature that allows users to quickly and easily reach emergency services. Whether you need the police, fire department, or medical services, they’re only a button press away.

It automatically calls emergency services and shares your location with them when activated. In addition, it can send a message to any individuals listed as your emergency contacts. This can come in handy when someone is in danger or incapacitated. 

While this may sound useful, many people aren’t using it. It will only be beneficial if you set it up ahead of time. One lucky hiker, Juana Reyes, had it set up, and it worked flawlessly. It likely even saved her life.

iPhone Emergency SOS Saves Injured Hiker

Reyes was hiking Trail Canyon Falls with friends in the San Gabriel Mountains in California. The situation quickly changed when the trail unexpectedly collapsed under her. This resulted in Reyes injuring her ankle and being unable to walk. 

With no cell signal, reaching help via traditional methods was impossible. Luckily, her iPhone 14 saved the day.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) was immediately notified when the fall activated the SOS feature on her iPhone. Rescuers quickly responded and airlifted her to safety.

LASD’s Sgt. John Gilbert told KTLA News that Reyes wasn’t the department’s first rescue resulting from the new iPhone feature. 

In December, two individuals were rescued from a car crash in Angeles National Forest. Their car went over a 300-foot cliff into a remote canyon.

Due to injuries and the vehicle’s condition, they couldn’t rescue themselves, nor would anyone else have known they were down there. 

However, the feature gave rescuers an accurate location where to look. They were then able to airlift them out of the canyon.

No further information was released on the victims of the car crash. However, Juana Reyes left the hospital and can hike again once her ankle heals. It’s safe to assume she won’t hit any trails without a fully charged iPhone anytime soon.

What iPhones Have the SOS Feature?

Unfortunately, not every iPhone has the SOS feature built into it. Currently, the only iPhones on the market with it are the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro. 

If you have an iPhone 8 or later, you can set emergency contacts and call 911 but only through cell signals. They’re not much help when exploring remote areas.

The latest iPhone models use satellites to create a solid connection from just about anywhere. If you’ve been waiting for an excuse to upgrade your phone, this might be it. 

What Happens If You Accidentally Press SOS on Your Phone?

Many kids, and even some adults, have accidentally called 911. However, activating the SOS setting on your iPhone can take it a step further. 

It’ll connect you with an operator and send alerts to your loved ones. You can imagine how they’ll respond when getting a signal that you’re in trouble.

Luckily, Apple recognizes the danger of false alarms and has a countdown and audible noise when the feature gets activated. This can give you time to cancel the request for help should you, or a child, hit the wrong buttons. 

In addition, you can turn off “press and hold” or “rapid press” options for activating the signal. 

How to Use iPhone SOS Feature

The SOS feature on your iPhone will only be helpful if you set it up beforehand.

Do yourself and your potential rescuers a favor and ensure everything works as it should before your next adventure.

Setup Emergency Contacts

The first thing you need to do is to establish your emergency contacts. To do this, open the Health app on your phone. You’ll then tap “Medical ID” and “Edit.” 

You can then scroll down to “Emergency Contacts” and hit the “plus” button to add contacts and their relationship. Be sure to click “done” to save your changes when finished.

Be aware of the phone number you select for those individuals with multiple phone numbers. Typically, it’s best only to use cell phone numbers, as most people constantly have a cell phone near them.

Pro Tip: Having SOS set up on your phone isn’t the only Hiking Tip That Could Save Your Life!

Enable Emergency SOS

To enable the SOS feature on your iPhone, open the “Settings” app. Scroll until you see “Emergency SOS” and click on it. 

From there, you’ll want to turn on “Call with Hold and Release” and “Call With Five Button Presses.” With these options available, you’ll be ready to use your phone when you need help.

Activate Feature During an Emergency

Unfortunately, there may come a time when you need to use the iPhone SOS feature. When that occurs, you’ll need to use any previously selected methods. Typically, the easiest way is to quickly press the power button on the phone’s right side five times. 

The other option is to press and hold the volume up and power button simultaneously for three seconds. You can then slide the SOS button over to activate it. This can be very challenging or impossible during a stressful situation.

The third method for sending out an alert requires nothing from the owner. The iPhone 14 automatically activates when it detects an automobile accident or a fall. This is helpful if you cannot reach your phone during the situation.

Once activated, SOS will start a countdown. If you accidentally sent the alert, click “stop calling.” However, if you need help, it’ll connect you with an operator and send your location.

Keep in Mind: You never know when an emergency will occur. See How To Create The Best RV Emergency Kit To Handle Any Situation!

Do Android Devices Have an Emergency SOS Feature?

Similar to iPhones, many Android devices have SOS capabilities. However, the iPhone 14 was the first to offer satellite capabilities. 

Most Android devices have basic SOS capabilities. Samsung has already announced plans to include satellite connectivity in some devices.

Like facial recognition, voice assistants, and many other upgrades, it likely won’t take long before it’s the norm. Hikers and many others will be safer during adventures and everyday life when it is. 

A person calling 911

Use Technology to Stay Safe During Your Adventures

Safety is one thing you shouldn’t take lightly. We recommend using technology whenever possible, including the SOS iPhone setting.

Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye on adventures and during everyday life. Take the proper precaution ahead of time. You never know when it could save your life.

Did you know about the new iPhone SOS feature?

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