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How to Set up Your Medical ID and Emergency Contacts for iPhone SOS

by Suzanne Kantra on November 21, 2022

Chances are that if you are in an accident or have a medical emergency, you will have your iPhone with you. And if you use your iPhone to call for help, you can set it to automatically share life-saving information with first responders and notify your emergency contacts.

The information sent to emergency services is pulled from the Health app, which has a feature called Medical ID. Within your Medical ID, you can use to store medical conditions, medications, allergies, blood type, and more. This is also where you can save your emergency contacts.

iPhone 14 Pro with Emergency Calling screen showing a dial pad and Medical ID in the lower left corner.

Manage your Medical ID and emergency contacts

If you don't already have a Medical ID, it's easy to set it up. And if you do have a Medical ID, it's a good idea to check the health and emergency contact information to make sure it's not outdated.

  1. Open the Apple Health app. (The Health app is available for iPhone 5 and newer running iOS 10 and higher. If you're unsure of your model, check my story on how to update an old iPhone.)
  2. Tap your profile picture in the upper right.
  3. Tap "Medical ID."
  4. Tap "Get Started" to create an ID or "Edit" to edit an ID.
  5. Input the medical information you want to share. If you have a Medical ID already, you will only see all of the data you can share by tapping "Edit."
  6. Scroll down to the "Emergency Contacts" section.
  7. Add contacts by tapping "add emergency contact." (You can remove outdated emergency contacts by tapping the minus sign to the left of their name.)
  8. Select a contact from your address book and add their relationship.
  9. Tap "Done."

Turn on sharing for Medical ID and emergency contacts

Once you have input your information, you have to opt-in to share your Medical ID information. You can share the data two ways – from your iPhone's lock screen (so emergency personnel can view it without unlocking your phone) and during emergency calls. If you turn on "Share During Emergency Call," your data will be sent when calling 911 or texting using the new Emergency SOS satellite service, which is available for iPhone 14 models. After your call, your emergency contacts will be notified that you've called emergency services and where you're located.

  1. Open the Apple Health app.
  2. Tap your profile picture in the upper right.
  3. Tap "Medical ID."
  4. Scroll down to "Emergency Access."
  5. Toggle on "Show When Locked." Turn this on if you want people to be able to access your Medical ID, including emergency contacts, without unlocking your iPhone.
  6. Toggle on "Share During Emergency Call." Turn this on if you want your Medical ID information sent to emergency services when you call or text for help.

Turn on Emergency SOS for fast and automatic access to help

The fastest way to call for help is to turn on Emergency SOS. When it's turned on, pressing and holding the side power button and a volume button or tapping the side button five times will call emergency services. After you activate Emergency SOS by pressing and holding the power (on the right side) and a volume button (on the left side), a slider will show up on your screen, which you can slide to call emergency services immediately. If you press the power button five times, your iPhone will automatically call emergency services after giving you the option to cancel.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap "Emergency SOS."
  3. Toggle on "Call with Hold" and/or "Call with 5 Presses."
  4. Toggle on "Countdown Sound" if you want an audible warning before your iPhone makes a call.
  5. If you have an iPhone 14, toggle on "Call After Severe Crash" if you want your phone to automatically call emergency services in case of a car crash. You will hear a countdown and alarm before the call is placed, giving you time to cancel the call if you don't need help.

If you have an iPhone 14 and cellular service isn't available, you can connect to Apple's Emergency SOS via Satellite. This text-based service guides you through providing essential information and will send help. You can try a demo of the service to see where you can reach a satellite in your area and how the process works so you're ready in case of an emergency.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap "Emergency SOS."
  3. Scroll down at tap the "Try Demo" link.

[Image credit: Techlicious]

For the past 20+ years, Techlicious founder Suzanne Kantra has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Prior to Techlicious, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the Senior Technology Editor for Popular Science. Suzanne has been featured on CNN, CBS, and NBC.


Tips & How-Tos, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, iPhone/iPad Apps, Health and Home, Health & Fitness

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