How to Use the Emergency and SOS Feature on iPhones

Last modified
Wednesday, July 17, 2019


This is demonstrated with an iPhone 6S up to about an iPhone 8. If you have an X, Xs or Xr, you may not have the settings I do.


We all find ourselves in that situation where you break something, or you don't feel safe. That's why we have emergency services.

This guide will walk you through the basics to setting up emergency services on your iPhone.

Getting Started

First, make sure you have a SIM card. You can't dial without one, so it's advised you get one.

Make sure you have at least 3 or more bars of cellular data, for the best experience.


First off, we have to visit Settings to configure options. Follow the steps below to open ES (emergency services) settings.

  1. Launch the Settings app from your home screen.
  2. From the list of options, selecting Emergency and SOS.
  3. View the options available.

The first element is an image with an CHLT text description. To the right of this, there is a description of what you must do to activate ES.

To activate ES, rapidly click your iPhone's sleep wake button five times. Or if you have a passcode set, you get a choice between either doing that, or pressing your home button, doing a four finger tap near the bottom of the screen, and double tapping on the focused emergency button. Next, is auto-call. You can only do this with a SIM card, and it will start calling ES immediately when you double tap on the Emergency button, or rapidly press the sleep wake button five times. If this is off, when you use either method, you will be asked to enter your region's emergency number, and you can do that by using the dialpad that appears. For example, 9 1 1 for US. Lastly, you can configure which contacts will know you've called ES. They will get a message saying that you've dialed emergency services, along with more information.


Keep in mind that since you are dialing emergency services (ES), it is recommended that you enable location services. That way, they can find you easier.


Hope this guide helped.

Questions? Leave a comment, or use my contact form.



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