Smart phone feature: In case of emergency (ICE)

Ashley
Hand holding up an iPhone with lock screen showing

ICE stands for "In case of emergency." It refers to a few different features on your mobile phone. You can set them up by following these instructions.

Both Android phones and iPhones have a feature known as "ICE" or "In case of emergency." This feature will let you add a list of emergency contacts to your phone. You can also add medical information, such as allergies or current medications.

This information can then be accessed by emergency services if you are unable to tell them about your medical history or contacts.

It is also possible to use the Emergency SOS feature to send your location to your emergency contacts and alert emergency services. It can also be triggered by you by holding down certain buttons for a time.

Some smartwatches will even do this for you if it detects that you've had a fall.

You can jump down to read about how to set this up:

But first we want to cover some of the criticism of ICE features.

Critics of ICE features

Some people have criticised ICE features on mobile phones.

They point out that most emergency service personnel will not spend time looking for someone's mobile phone. Although with the growing use of the feature, this may be changing.

There is also some criticism that the Emergency SOS feature results in too many accidental calls to emergency services. The developers of these features say that the way they are triggered needs enough intention that this isn't a huge problem.

iPhone ICE settings

All iPhones have a Medical ID option within the Health app. This is where you will go to set up your ICE information. You can also decide whether you want this information visible on your lock screen.

You can read how to do this by going to this article or reading the instructions below:

Step 1: Open the Health app.

iPhone highlighting the Health app

Step 2: Make sure you are on the Summary page by checking the bottom navigation bar. Tap your profile picture in the top right.

Arrow directing people to the profile icon on the Health App Summary page

Step 3: Select "Medical ID"

Highlighting the location of the Medical ID menu option

Step 4: Click edit (in the top right).

Arrow directing people to the Edit option on the Medical ID page

Step 5: You can now fill in all your information and select your emergency contacts. Your emergency contacts need to already exist on your phone. Click Done in the top right when you are finished.

Highlighting where someone can tap to add an emergency contact

If you want this information visible on your lock screen, you will need to make sure "Show when locked" is switched on.

Emergency SOS

Your iPhone can automatically contact emergency services and alert all of your emergency contact to your current location.

Please only do this if you are in an actual emergency.

To use the Emergency SOS feature on your iPhone, please read through this article. The way you do this will depend on which iPhone you have. The instructions below are for an iPhone 8 or later.

  1. Press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons
  2. Three sliders will appear on screen
  3. Drag the Emergency SOS to the right.
  4. If you continue to hold the buttons instead of using the slider, a countdown will start and an alert will play. If you are still holding down the buttons when the countdown ends, your iPhone will automatically call emergency services.

We hope this has helped you understand what ICE features are and how to set them up. Are there any features on your mobile phone you'd like us to cover in an article like this?

If so, please share them here on our forum.

Android ICE settings

If you have an Android phone, there are a couple different ways you can set this up.

Not all phones or versions of Android support the Personal Safety app or the settings options discussed below. There are other apps available, but you should always be careful when adding your personal information. Make sure you check that the app is from a reputable company.

From the Personal Safety app

To set up the ICE features on an Android phone, you will need the Personal Safety app. Some devices will have this already installed. But other people will need to download it.

To edit your emergency information, please follow the instructions on this page.

We have also included them below:

  1. Open the Personal Safety app
  2. Sign in to your Google account
  3. Select "Settings"
  4. Select "Medical information" and add what you wish to include.
  5. Select "Emergency contacts" and then "Add contact"
    1. Your emergency contacts need to already exist on your phone.

If you want this information visible on your lock screen, you will need to select "Show when device is locked."

From your Settings

Some Android phones, like the Pixel, allow you to make changes from your normal settings.

You will still need the Personal safety app.

To access your emergency information from Settings, you will need to follow the instructions on this page instead.

We have also included them below and in a video. If you cannot see the video below, please follow this link.

  1. Go to "Settings".
  2. Tap "About phone".
  3. Tap "Emergency Information".
  4. In the banner at the top of the screen, tap "Update".
  5. You can now add your information

If you want this information visible on your lock screen, you will need to select "Show when device is locked."

Emergency SOS

Android phones have the ability to call emergency services, notify your ICE contacts and even start recording video in an emergency.

You can find up to date instructions for how to set up Emergency SOS on an Android phone here.

We have also added these below:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select "Safety and emergency"
  3. Select "Emergency SOS"
  4. Turn "Use Emergency SOS" on
  5. Select which actions you would like performed. You can choose from:
    1. Call emergency services
    2. Share your location with emergency contacts
    3. Record video and share with your emergency contacts

You can trigger the Emergency SOS feature by following the below instructions or reading this article.

Please only do this if you are in an actual emergency.

  1. Press the Power button five times or more.
  2. This will start a five-second countdown. You will be able to cancel this if you did it on accident.
  3. At the end of those five-seconds, the emergency actions you set up will start.

We hope this has helped you understand what ICE features are and how to set them up. Are there any features on your mobile phone you'd like us to cover in an article like this?

If so, please share them here on our forum.

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