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How to use the emergency SOS function on your smartphone

No matter the make and model of your phone, it probably has an emergency SOS feature built in, something you’ll hopefully never have to use, but should be aware of, just in case.

Emergency SOS works similarly on all mobile platforms, as described below. Whether you’re dealing with a medical emergency or other safety issues, your primary goal is to let emergency services and trusted contacts know you’re in trouble and where you are.


If you’re using an iPhone, the Emergency SOS feature allows you to quickly call the emergency services in any country you’re in and alert one or more chosen contacts that you need help. First, you’ll need to set up those contacts. In the Health app, tap your profile picture, then tap Medical ID.

Play Editand then under the emergency contacts header selection Add emergency contact to choose one or more names from your address book. These people will receive a message when you have used the Emergency SOS function and your current location will be sent to them. Play done when you’re done.

You can set Emergency SOS to work semi-automatically on iOS.

Apple via David Nield

There is another screen of options to look at beforehand. If you go to Settings and then Emergency SOS, you can enable both call on hold (which calls emergency services by pressing and holding a button) and Call with 5 presses (which calls emergency services if you quickly press one of the side buttons five times in a row). In both cases, you will see a short countdown before the call is placed.

To actually access the Emergency SOS feature, press and hold the Side button and one of the Volume buttons, then use the SOS emergency slider, which will call the emergency services in your region. You can also press and hold the side button and volume button if you have previously enabled call on hold.

Samsung Galaxy Devices

If you own a Samsung Galaxy phone, you can set up the Emergency SOS feature by going to the main Settings app and choosing Security and emergencies. turn on the Send SOS messages toggle switch to set how many quick presses of the side button are required to enable the feature.

Once the feature is enabled, your emergency contacts will receive a message that you need help and will be able to track your location for 24 hours. During the setup process, you can select emergency contacts from the list of contacts synced to your phone.


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