How to make an emergency call on a locked iPhone

If you are ever in a dire situation and the only iPhone in the area is one that is locked, and you don't know how to unlock it, you can still make a call with it. You can't make a call to your friend, but you can call emergency services.

The feature is available on the Lock screen of every iPhone. When you press the Home button to trigger the passcode screen, you can bypass the lock for two purposes: making an emergency call and accessing someone's Medical ID information. Bookmark this page. It may just save someone's life someday.

How to make an emergency phone call without unlocking it

If you don't have access to your own iPhone and there is a working one nearby, but its owner is unable to unlock it, you can still call emergency services.

  1. Press the Home button on the iPhone to trigger the passcode screen.
  2. Tap Emergency in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  3. Call emergency services in your area.Note: You can only call emergency services like 911, 999, or 180. It will not allow you to call a private number.

Tap Emergency, then call emergency services

You won't be able to use the phone to answer a call, so be sure to stay on the line with emergency services until someone arrives at your location.

How to access a Medical ID page without unlocking an iPhone

If you are helping someone that needs medical attention, and the person is unable to unlock his or her iPhone, you can go directly to the Medical ID page to find out important information about allergies, medications, and emergency contacts.

Note: The owner of the iPhone will have had to fill out the Medical ID page in the Health app and added the page to the Lock screen. If you don't see the Medical ID icon on the emergency call screen, you can't access it without a passcode.

  1. Press the Home button on the iPhone to trigger the passcode screen.
  2. Tap Emergency at the bottom left corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Medical ID at the bottom left corner of the screen.

Tap Emergency, then tap Medical ID

If the person has filled out the Medical ID page in the Health app, important information will be listed here, including allergies, medications, and emergency contacts.

How to call someone's emergency contact from a Medical ID page

If you are helping someone that needs medical attention, and the person is unable to unlock his or her iPhone, you can call one or more personal emergency contacts listed on the Medical ID page.

Note: The owner of the iPhone will have had to fill out the Medical ID page in the Health app and added the page to the Lock screen. If you don't see the Medical ID icon on the emergency call screen, you can't access it without a passcode.

  1. Press the Home button on the iPhone to trigger the passcode screen.
  2. Tap Emergency at the bottom left corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Medical ID at the bottom left corner of the screen.
  4. Tap the call icon next to a contact.

Tap Emergency, then tap Medical ID, then tap the Call icon

You can call all numbers listed in the Medical ID page. This might be a good idea since someone listed as an emergency contact may know more about the person needing medical attention than the others.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about how to make an emergency phone call from a locked iPhone? Put them in the comments and we'll help you out.

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

5 Comments
  • I can call most anyone from my locked phone using the Launcher App widgets. Just swipe the lock screen right, then tap to call.
  • ... if enabled. I turn off the widget screen while locked. But I do leave Siri on, which can call anyone from my contacts, you just have to know to ask for. I wonder is Siri will tell you know my emergency contact is if ask. Sent from the iMore App
  • Nope. I asked Siri, "who is my emergency contact?" And it showed MY contact card. Fail. Sent from the iMore App
  • What do you mean you won't be able to ANSWER a call? AFAIK, you cannot disable that; you can always answer an incoming call from a locked iPhone. Sent from the iMore App
  • Most people don't know they can use an old phone for emergency calls even if it is not activated. https://www.puretalkusa.com/blog/tips-and-tricks-for-using-cell-phones-i... Sent from the iMore App