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Emergency on IOS devices

SOS IOS logo
Overall rating:
  • 4/5
Related reviews:
  • Settings menu
  • Emergency functionality menu
  • Medical data
  • Create medical data
  • Emergency contact selection
  • Automatic call activation
  • Countdown to warning
  • Apple watch menu
  • Apple watch countdown

We analyze the application How to configure "Emergency SOS" of IOS

Video review

What does it consist of:

February 2019

The SOS emergency functionality of the IPhone terminals with IOS operating system is used to make an emergency call and send a message with the location to the desired emergency contacts. In addition, this functionality allows the user's medical data to be displayed on the screen for better care in emergency situations. This action is triggered by a sequence of pressing on its power and volume button depending on the terminal model.

Forms of Acquisition:

The functionality is available for IOS versions 11 or later, it is free to use and requires no additional installations.

Technical verification:


A few months ago we tested the emergency SMS functionality of the Samsung terminals and this time we come with an analysis of the emergency alert functionality in the IPhone terminals.

In order to configure it, it is necessary to access the settings menu, where we find a tab with the name "SOS Emergency".


Although it is advisable to activate an emergency contact, the functionality can be activated to make a call only to the emergency services, in the case of Spain the telephone number 112.



In case of activating an emergency contact, it is necessary to previously access an introduction menu for our medical data, these data will be displayed in the foreground on the screen in case of an emergency press.


In order to trigger a call to the emergency services, in this case 112, we activate the automatic emergency call functionality within said menu.

It is important to differentiate that to activate the call to the emergency services on IPhone 6 and 7 terminals, it is necessary to press the on / off button for 5 times intermittently. On the other hand, in the case of more modern terminals such as IPhone 8 and X, the alert is triggered by pressing the power button together with the volume button simultaneously.

Emergency warning sequence after combination of alert keystrokes:

  1. Automatic callback to 112 after a countdown (can be canceled) 
  1. Notification to the selected emergency contact by SMS and sending the location after a 10-second countdown (can be canceled).


IMPORTANT: In order to receive or send the attached locations, it is necessary to have mobile data activated on both phones. 

Theoretically, if your shared location changes, your contacts will receive an update and a notification will arrive approximately 10 minutes later. 

  1. Finally, after sending the alert SMS, the screen shows the user's medical data of interest to be treated in case of emergency 

Apple watch

The functionality has been tested on an Apple Watch device working in a very similar way to the IPhone terminal.


NOTE: To use the functionality, the iPhone must be paired with that device. If the iPhone is not paired, the Apple Watch must be connected to a known Wi-Fi network and you must set up Wi-Fi Calling. On mobile data models of the Apple Watch, you can also use a mobile data connection.

The steps to make an emergency call are as follows: 

  1. Press and hold the side button on the watch until the SOS Emergency slider appears.
  2. With the button still pressed. Wait for the countdown to start and an alarm to sound. You can also drag the SOS Emergency slider.
  3. When the countdown is over, the watch will automatically call emergency services.


We find the emergency functionality extremely useful in critical situations. As it is included in the terminal's operating system, it is not necessary to carry out any additional installation and therefore it is perfectly optimized for it.

Although it has some advantages such as the section for medical data shown in case of emergency, we miss the audio recording or taking photos that can contribute a lot in this type of situation compared to the alert in Samsung terminals.

In turn, the fact of using data messages to send the locations makes it necessary to have the data active in both the sending and receiving terminals. This means that in some cases not even a minimum alert can be reached at the receiving terminal. In this case, it might be advisable to send a first message only with some coordinates in SMS format.


  • It can be of decisive help in emergencies
  • It is integrated into the operating system of the phone so it does not need additional installations
  • The functionality is very easy to configure

Improvement points

  • It presents some problems sending the location information as it needs to have both terminals emitting and receiving the alerts.
  • Design and manufacturing: 4 5 on.
    Refers to the physical aspects and details of the manufacturing of the technological product
  • User experience: 4 5 on.
    This criterion is linked to the user's assessment of the product or application
  • Technical benefits: 4 5 on.
    Description of the quality of the technical specifications of the technological solution
  • Accessibility: 5 5 on.
    It is the degree to which people can use or access a product, technological solution or service, regardless of their technical, cognitive or physical capabilities.

Social valuation:

We have tested this functionality with Aurora, a volunteer from the Orientatech project who regularly uses an iPhone terminal, and more recently she has acquired an Apple Watch device.

For her, it has been extremely easy to configure this functionality since she already made use of some sections such as medical data previously on her phone.

The terminal used in this case has been an iPhone 6 Plus model, which, as we have mentioned before, requires 5 presses on its power button to trigger the alert. As he pointed out, it seemed like a high number of keystrokes. We understand that this type of user comments may have been the trigger for the change in push-button shape for IPhone 8 and X terminals in which it is already activated by a single simultaneous press of the power and volume button.

The location, as has also been commented during the technical tests, is sometimes sent incorrectly or arrives late and is in general the only weak point that this functionality presents.

The tests with the Apple watch type device have had similar results to those of the IPhone terminal as it is the same functionality and only changes the way in which it is operated. It is important to take into account the connectivity points discussed in the technical review.

Except for the aforementioned problems that have occurred regarding the locations, we consider that this type of functionality for both Samsung and Apple terminals are extremely useful and should be included in a universal and standardized way in all modern terminals.

  • Impact and utility: 4 5 on.
    Describe to what extent the functionalities of the product are useful and impact on the improvement of the user's life
  • Usability and accessibility: 3 5 on.
    Possibility of the device to be used, understood and used in equal conditions for any person
  • Design and ergonomics: 3 5 on.
    Assessment of how the design of the technological solution adapts to the person to achieve greater comfort and effectiveness when using it
  • Ease of Acquisition: 4 5 on.
    It refers to the possibilities of accessing and acquiring a technological solution by the user

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