Sending out an SOS

Published: October 29, 2018

Imagine running into trouble in a dark alleyway or witnessing a serious accident… you’ll most likely be reaching for your smartphone to make a call! Did you know you can set up your phone to send for help by holding down several buttons?

Your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy has a handy, little-known “SOS” feature. You can access emergency contacts quickly and easily, anywhere in the world – we’ll walk you through how it works.

On-guard with an iPhone

Active help by default

If you’re using an iPhone 8, 8 Plus or X: Simply press and hold the two side buttons (power and volume) on your device for two seconds.  

If you’re using an iPhone 7 or older: tap the power button (on the right hand side) quickly five times.  

The Emergency SOS slider will appear on the screen. Swipe it to the right, a three second countdown timer will activate (which you can cancel by hitting stop if you made a mistake). Your phone will then automatically call the emergency services number for your country and send text notifications to your emergency contacts (you can cancel the text messages, if you’d like). The Emergency SOS feature is turned on by default on all iPhones, but that can be changed in Settings

Help in the fast lane

If you were in a mugging situation and not able to look at your screen, there’s a way to activate Emergency SOS using just one button on an iPhone 8, 8 Plus or X. You can turn on this feature in Settings > Emergency SOS > Call with Side Button (on/off). All you have to do then is tap the power button five times quickly, which is especially handy if you want to use the feature discretely. The feature bypasses Touch ID or the need to enter a passcode – it’s extremely quick.

Other useful tips

  • Turn off Auto Call via Settings > Emergency SOS > Auto Call (on/off)
  • Add other emergency contacts in your iPhone via Health > Medical ID > Edit > Edit Medical ID > Add emergency contact, then select a contact from your list and specify their relationship to you (for example, friend or spouse etc) – they will be sent a text message once you’ve hung up the phone with emergency services

Staying vigilant with a Samsung Galaxy

On the safe side

Do you have a Samsung Galaxy? There’s a built-in feature called Safety Assistance. You’ll need to turn it on first by going to Settings > Advanced Features > Send SOS Messages (on/off). 

Once you’ve accepted the disclaimer terms, set up Safety Assistance Messages by checking the boxes for Send Pictures and Send Sound Recording. Select Manage Primary Contacts to add a maximum of four emergency contacts from your list.

To quickly activate Safety Assistance in an emergency, press the power button rapidly three times. An SOS text message will be sent to your emergency contacts. It will include your location (via GPS), photos from the front/rear cameras of your situation and a five second recording (whatever the Samsung Galaxy’s microphone picks up at the time)… now that’s efficient!

Need some extra assistance or want to discover other handy features of your technology? Our technicians are certified for PC/Mac computers and tablets – we’re open 362 days a year and we’d be happy to help! 

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