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iPhone's Emergency SOS feature helps foil an assault

Emergency SOS on iPhone
Emergency SOS on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A woman had to use the iPhone Emergency SOS feature to call the police.
  • The feature helped her fend off an assault.
  • Dispatchers were able to send police to her location.

Apple's Emergency SOS feature is one that not a lot of people are aware of, and that's something that needs to change. Thankfully a woman who was being assaulted was absolutely aware of it and successfully used it to fend off her attacker.

The Emergency SOS feature allows users of iPhones and Apple Watches to press and hold specific buttons to call emergency services with no other interactions required. And everyone should know how to use it.

At around 2 am this past Sunday morning a woman was assaulted at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront after her attacker initially claimed to have lost his own iPhone.

It was early Sunday around 2 a.m. and the woman was about to get into her Uber to go home when she says, "This guy came up to me and said, 'I lost my phone… can you help me find my phone?'"He eventually tells her he might have lost it in the sand. She let him use the "Find My iPhone" app on her phone, but it wasn't working. She got a terrible feeling when she realized he doesn't know how to navigate her iPhone to use the app.

Things started to go south after that and you can read the full story over at WTKR via 9to5Mac) – I'm not going to quote it here for obvious reasons.

But the important part here is that by using the Emergency SOS feature, police were summoned and the attacker was subsequently caught after a foot pursuit. And more people need to know that the feature exists. We've previously explained how Emergency SOS works on Apple Watch and iPhone and learning how it works could be the best thing you ever do.

Hopefully none of us will have to use it, though.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.