Technology

How to use iPhone's new Emergency SOS feature

iPhone users can call 911 with the tap of a button

How to use iPhones new Emergency SOS...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - With iOS 11, one of Apple's newest operating systems, iPhone users have a new way to get in touch with law enforcement.

It's called Emergency SOS and now your phone will automatically call 911 with the press of a series of buttons.

Officers with the Santa Maria Police Department say this is just another advancement in technology that enhances the community's ability to communicate with law enforcement.

We're all trained at a young age to dial 9-1-1 if faced with a dangerous or life-threatening situation but Apple is changing the game.

"I was interested. It's useful, it's definitely helpful for me, said Elisa Arriagea, a Santa Maria mother.

Elisa Arriagea wasn't aware of her iPhone's new Emergency SOS feature until our crew showed her how it works.

"I mean obviously it's going to be great if I'm ever in a dangerous situation and I have my young kids with me I don't have a lot of hands available it's great," said Arriagea.

If you have an iPhone 7 or earlier, press the power button five times, drag the Emergency SOS slider on the screen and it's essentially like you dialed 9-1-1.

"The electronic components or the actual signal goes out as much the same as any 911 call over a cell phone. So we receive the same information as to location and the number that called here in our communication center so we can get resources headed in the right direction," said Lt. Russell Mengel, Santa Maria Police Department.

Your iPhone also sends your emergency contacts a text message with your current location, so instead of making a phone call, you can be more discreet.

"You may not be able to get to your phone and pull it out, so you can hit it in your pocket covertly so to speak if you're witnessing robbery or something of that nature," said Lt. Mengel.

But Lt. Mengel warns, the notification on their end is exactly the same as if someone dialed 911 so it's only to be used in an emergency

"Don't do it just for fun or just to try it out, that ties of the communication lines for emergencies that may be occurring elsewhere," said Lt. Mengel.

According to Apple, here's how to make the call on iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus:

Press and hold the side button and one of the Volume buttons until the Emergency SOS slider appears. 

Drag the Emergency SOS slider to call emergency services. If you continue to hold down the side button and Volume button, instead of dragging the slider, a countdown begins and an alert sounds. If you hold down the buttons until the countdown ends, your iPhone automatically calls emergency services.

Here's how to make the call on iPhone 7 or earlier: 

"Rapidly press the side button five times. The Emergency SOS slider will appear. (In India, you only need to press the button three times, then your iPhone automatically calls emergency services.) 

Drag the Emergency SOS slider to call emergency services.

After the call ends, your iPhone sends your Emergency contacts a text message with your current location, unless you choose to cancel. If Location Services is off, it will temporarily turn on.

If your location changes, your contacts will get an update, and you'll get a notification about 10 minutes later. To stop the updates, tap the status bar and select "Stop Sharing Emergency Location." If you keep sharing, you'll get a reminder to stop every 4 hours for 24 hours.

You can update your emergency contacts in Settings. 

 

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