How to set up Medical ID and SOS on iPhone

Following with my emergency series lately, have you thought about how to set up emergency information on your phone? Most smart phones have a medical id, sos, or in case of emergency program installed, but you have to set it up.

Think about it, you probably take your phone everywhere with you, right? So if something were to happen such as a car crash or any other emergency, wouldn’t it make sense that your phone would be with you? And if you are unable to communicate there is no way for emergency responders to know anything about you or who to call for you. Cue emergency information on your phone.

iPhone Medical ID Setup

I know that most about the iPhone emergency system, called the Medical ID, because I have had an iPhone for almost 10 years now. When they added the Health app, there is also something on there called the Medical ID. If you open your Health app, on the bottom right is an option that says Medical ID. If you tap on that, it opens a screen for you to enter your medical information.

show medical id on lock screen

Most important, make sure the “show when locked” option is turned on. This is what allows emergency responders access to this information without needing the passcode into your phone. Then go through and enter any and all important information about yourself. This has a place to also enter your emergency contacts. Since I usually have the boys with me, I added basic information for them as well in the notes section.

If you ever need to find someone’s Medical ID, or want to check the information on your own, it’s simple to find. If you tap on the home button on an iphone and try to open it, you will see the passcode screen. From there, on the bottom left click on “emergency” and on the emergency call screen tap “medical id”.

view medical id on a locked phone

Apple Watch Emergency SOS Setup

If you also have an Apple Watch, there is a counterpart on the watch to the medical id. This is called the SOS on the watch. If you go to your watch app on your iPhone, tap on general, then Emergency SOS you will get a screen asking to turn on “Hold to Auto Call” which means if you hold the side button long enough it will make an emergency call. Then you will see all of your emergency contacts from the Medical ID listed. If you make an emergency call from your watch, once that call is ended it will send out a text message to those people listed. It keeps your location services turned on and sends those people updates to be able to track you if needed.


ICE: In Case of Emergency Contacts

Maybe you have seen people who have contacts set up as ICE. That stand for In Case of Emergency and is that person’s emergency contact. I know my mom has my dad in her phone listed as ICE: Darrell. So when he calls or if you look through her contact book you would find my dad as her emergency contact. This is a great, quick, easy easy way to list your emergency contacts. The problem with this is if you have a passcode set on your phone. I could list mine as ICE, but if you don’t know my passcode it doesn’t do any good.

Other Apps

There are other apps available that work similar to the Medical ID, but the Health app is already built in for this. If you are on a different phone than an iPhone, you may be able to get an app that puts your emergency contact info on the lock screen. Again, I have only had an iPhone for so long that I don’t know what is available for the other operating systems.

Notes on Lock Screen

This trick works for any phone. You know that nice photo on the background of your phone, on the lock screen? Replace that with your information. Open any note taking or text editing app, even start an email… anything that you can type into. Create a note with any important info such as your name, date of birth, any allergies and medications, and the name and phone number of your emergency contact(s). Take a screen shot of this information, and save it as your lock screen photo.

It may not be as pretty as your recent family photo, but it gets the job done. The only other negative on this is that emergency responders would have to call from a different phone, therefore your phone number won’t show up for the person you are calling. I personally don’t answer the phone unless I know who is calling or if I am expecting a call from someone.

medical info on notes

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