- by JR Raphael - The Verge - Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Smartphones are spectacular for snapping photos, scanning the news, and sending messages, but they can also be literal lifesavers if you take the time to set them up before the need arises.
Both Android and iOS have easy-to-use systems for sharing your location with a friend, family member, or other trusted contact in an emergency. You can even create connections that’ll allow you to check up on loved ones to see if their phone has detected movement lately and then request an automated location update if you’re unable to reach them.
The key to all of this is to configure your emergency system ahead of time so it’ll be available in case an actual emergency occurs. Take two minutes now, and then rest easy knowing your phone’s ready.
The simple option for iOS.
If you’ve got an iPhone, Apple offers a built-in Emergency SOS system that gives you a quick way to call 911 (or the equivalent emergency service provider) and then alert a group of predefined emergency contacts - all in one fell swoop.
- Open the Health app.
- Tap the “Medical ID” tab.
- Tap “Edit.” (If you haven’t yet created a medical ID, you’ll need to do that first.)
- Find the “Add emergency contact” option, and add however many people you want.
- Press and hold the power button along with either volume button, and you’ll see an “Emergency SOS” countdown appear on your screen.
- Keep holding both buttons until the countdown ends.
- Your iPhone will automatically call 911, and as soon as the call disconnects, the phone will text your emergency contacts with your current location.
For a more robust setup in which you can share and request locations with trusted contacts — without needing to make a 911 call — download Google’s Trusted Contacts app for Android or iOS. Once you’ve signed in, create your list of connections.
- Find and tap the name of anyone you want to add.
- On the app’s main screen, select the person with whom you want to share your location.
- Tap “Send location alert now.”
- Tap the person’s name on the app’s main screen.
- Tap “Ask for [person’s] location.”