Technology

How to make an emergency SOS call from your mobile phone

Every modern smartphone has some sort of emergency function, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with how your own device works. Plus, letting your phone know who your emergency contacts are is also a good move.

While some phones simply provide a shortcut to call emergency services (for example, a quick tap on the power button), others can be configured to automatically send your current location to your friends and family.

Keep scrolling as we explain how to make emergency calls on a mobile phone. Our guide covers Apple’s iPhone models, along with smartphones from Google, Huawei, Motorola, Samsung, and Xiaomi.

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Making an emergency call on an iPhone

Apple’s iPhone models have a built-in Emergency SOS feature, which means you can quickly call for help without scrolling through a full contact book. When you make a call through SOS mode, your iPhone automatically dials the local emergency number.

To call emergency services on a iPhone 8 or laterFollow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the button on the right side of your phone along with one of the volume buttons on the left side of the phone.
  2. A slider ‘Emergency SOS’ will now appear. If you drag your finger along this slider, you call the emergency services. If you hold down the buttons but don’t use the slider, the countdown will begin and a warning will sound.

Note that if you accidentally start an SOS countdown, you can cancel it on iPhone 8 or later by releasing the side button and volume button.

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To call emergency services on a iPhone 7 or earlierFollow these steps:

  1. Press the side button or the top button five times in quick succession – this will bring up the Emergency SOS slider.
  2. Slide your finger along the Emergency SOS text to call the emergency services.

If you accidentally start an SOS countdown, you can cancel it on iPhone 7 or earlier by pressing the Stop button and then Stop Calling.

Add emergency contacts to your iPhone

We recommend adding your emergency contacts to your iPhone sooner rather than later. This means that after an emergency call ends, your mobile will alert your emergency contacts with a text message. Those contacts also receive details about your current location.

Follow these steps to add an emergency contact:

  1. Open the pre-installed health app and tap your profile picture.
  2. Select the Medical ID option, then edit.
  3. Scroll to Emergency Contacts and tap the To add button (plus sign).
  4. Select one of your contacts and add their relationship. Tap Done to save your changes.

To delete an emergency contact, you need to go through the following steps:

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  1. Open the pre-installed health app and tap your profile picture.
  2. Select the Medical ID option, then edit.
  3. Scroll to Emergency Contacts and tap the remove button (minus sign). Tap on Done to save your changes.

Also see: Using Emergency SOS on your iPhone (Apple website)

Emergency and SOS calls on Android

If you own an Android smartphone, the steps to take to make an emergency call depend on the brand. For example, Google Pixel owners will have to use a different method than Samsung Galaxy owners.

Making an emergency call on Google Pixel smartphones

Your emergency settings on the Pixel are handled by the Personal Safety App, which comes preinstalled on Pixel 4 and later. If you configure this now, you can share your real-time location with emergency contacts.

To add your emergency information to the Personal Safety app:

  1. Open the Personal Safety App by selecting it in your app box or by searching for it in the device settings, and if prompted, sign in to your google account.
  2. Press Settings button, then Medical information. Here you can save information about allergies and medicines.
  3. Tap Emergency ContactsthenAdd contact. Select an existing contact that you want the app to recognize as an emergency contact.

If you ever need quick access to the emergency function, Long press your Pixel’s power button. Doing so will display the Emergency, Power off and Restart functions. Tapping Emergency takes you to a screen where you can call 999 or contact your emergency contacts.

Also see: Get emergency help with your Pixel phone (Pixel Phone Help website)

Making an emergency call on Samsung Galaxy smartphones

The latest Galaxy smartphones come with an SOS feature that alerts your emergency contacts in just three taps.

To set up the emergency SOS feature on a Samsung Galaxy smartphone:

  1. Open the Settings menu, and choose Advanced Features.
  2. At the bottom you see Send SOS messages. Turn this on and then choose your emergency contacts.
  3. You can choose to automatically send an audio recording and photos using the front and rear cameras. Emergency contacts will receive this in addition to your current location.

If you need to make an emergency call and don’t have time to unlock your phone, Scroll up on your screen to go to the Lock screen. From there you can get on . to tap emergency call.

Also see: Using your Galaxy phone in an emergency (Samsung website)

Making an emergency call on Huawei smartphones

If you have a Huawei smartphone, you can send an SOS message to emergency contacts or call an emergency number from the lock screen.

To send a message to an emergency contact:

  1. Make sure your GPS is on so that the Emergency SOS feature can access your location.
  2. go to Settings > Safety > Emergency SOS. From there, toggle the Also send an SOS messagechoice.
  3. Finally, set up your emergency contacts.

With the Emergency SOS function set, you can now press the power button five times in quick succession to activate it. This will automatically send a message with your current location to each of your emergency contacts. To make an emergency call, navigate to your lock screen (this will appear automatically when you wake your phone from sleep) and tapEmergency.

Also see: Emergency SOS and Calls (Huawei website)

Making an emergency call on Xiaomi smartphones

Xiaomi owners can use the brand’s Emergency SOS tool to quickly let friends and family know they need help.

Configure Xiaomi’s Emergency SOS tool:

  1. Open device Settings and scroll down toPasswords and Security.
  2. Select the Emergency SOS option and make sure the function is switched on.
  3. Your device will prompt you to add at least one emergency contact. You can also choose to send your call history for the past hour to your emergency contact.

To ask for help, press the power button five times in quick succession – this will activate Xiaomi’s Emergency SOS tool. Now your emergency contacts will see that you have asked for help, plus information about your current location.


If your mobile phone manufacturer is not listed above, we recommend that you refer to your device manual. If you lost that, go to the manufacturer’s website and do a search for the “SOS” or “Emergency Call” feature.


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