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Your Phone Could Save Your Life: The Smartphone Safety Feature You Need to Know

This smartphone safety feature could save your life in a medical emergency.

It’s a nightmare scenario: You’re away from home and have an accident or a medical emergency. We all have important medical information that first responders and doctors need to know. Even if you have no allergies, medications, or medical conditions, you at least need to be able to share your blood type! If you’re unconscious and there’s no one with you who knows that information, how will they find out? The answer may be a device that we all have with us at all times: Your smartphone. This little-known smartphone safety feature could save your life.

Share Essential Medical Information with Medical ID

All modern smartphones come equipped with a smartphone safety feature called Medical ID. Medical ID provides information that can be accessed without using your device’s password or biometrics. It an include information like your name, age, medical conditions, medications you take, known allergies, blood type, and organ donor status. All of this information is essential for doctors and first responders. It can help them avoid potentially deadly allergies or medication interactions while treating you.

Another thing included in Medical ID is your emergency contacts. This is another essential smartphone safety feature. If you are incapacitated by an emergency, access to emergency contacts will let someone contact your loved ones and let them know what happened.

But Medical ID is only beneficial if you set it up in advance. If you don’t know about this smartphone safety feature and add your information, Medical ID won’t help you in an emergency.

How to Set Up Medical ID on iPhone

To set up this smartphone safety feature on your iPhone, open the Health app. (It’s a white widget with a pink heart.) On the bottom right of the screen, tap “Medical ID,” then “Create Medical ID.” Then follow the prompts to enter your information. When you’re finished, tap “Done.”

Make sure the toggle by Show When Locked is set to “on.” That’s what allows someone to access your Medical ID without your phone’s passcode. If you have it set to “off,” your phone will have to be unlocked before anyone can see your Medical ID.

How to Set Up Medical ID on Android

To activate this smartphone safety feature on Android, go to the Settings app. What setting you need depends on your version of Android. You can usually find it by searching for “emergency” and looking for Emergency Information. Tap “Add Information” to add or modify your information. Tap “Add Contacts” to select emergency contacts from contacts saved in your phone.

Tip: If you don’t have anything to put in one section, don’t leave it blank! Enter something like “N/A” or “None.” That way emergency responders know that the section is blank because you don’t have any information to put there, not because you forgot to enter it.

How to Access Medical ID

Having this smartphone safety feature set up is helpful. But you also need to know how to access it. Even if you’re not a doctor or first responder, being able to access Medical ID could help you save someone else in an emergency.

On iPhone: From the lock screen, tap “Emergency” in the bottom left. This will take you to a dial pad where you can make an emergency call. To access Medical ID, tap “Medical ID” in the bottom left. On that screen, you can see the person’s medical information and tap emergency contacts to call them.

On Android: From the lock screen, swipe up, then tap “Emergency” at the bottom. This will take you to a dial pad where you can make an emergency call. At the top, double-tap the “Emergency Information” button to access Medical ID and call emergency contacts.

Reasons Not to Use Medical ID

Medical ID is a very helpful and potentially life-saving smartphone safety feature. But some people are still hesitant to use it, for some very good reasons. While it’s worth utilizing every smartphone safety feature available, just in case, it’s important to consider potential drawbacks.

One concern about this feature is privacy. Medical ID contains private medical information. While your Medical ID information is never shared with third parties, anyone with physical access to your phone can see it. It’s quick and easy for emergency personnel to access, but that means it’s also easy for anyone who gets a hold of your phone to access, as well.

Another concern is how well it actually works. While Medical ID has the potential to be incredibly useful (after all, we always have our phones with us), it’s a smartphone safety feature that’s not very well-known. Not everyone knows to look for Medical ID on your phone, or how to access it. If you have a serious medical condition, Medical ID is not yet ready to replace your medical bracelet or wallet card.

The Bottom Line for this Smartphone Safety Feature

Medical ID is not perfect. And it’s not yet ready to be our main method of communicating information to doctors and first responders when we’re incapacitated. But it still has the potential to be incredibly helpful, and maybe even save your life. Take a few minutes to add your information and set emergency contacts. And know how to check someone else’s Medical ID so you can help out in an emergency situation.

Also, share this article! The more people who are aware of this smartphone safety feature, the more likely it is to save someone’s life.

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