How to add emergency contact information to your phone's lockscreen

On iPhones, a feature called Medical ID was launched in 2014 with the iOS 8 update and lives in the Health app, which allows access to medical information. (Oct. 4, 2017)

As the nation continues to gather their thoughts from Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas, many are wondering how to prepare in case of an unthinkable situation.

The attack, which left 59 dead and more than 500 injured, created a hell-like chaos as people scrambled to get themselves and others to safety. In a life-or-death scenario, it's possible a person's medical condition and identification would be crucial for survival. If there is no one there to provide this information, it may cost a life.

Smart phones have a feature which enables a user to allow access to their medical and emergency information from their lock screen without requiring the phone to unlock.

On iPhones, this feature is called Medical ID. It launched in 2014 with the iOS 8 update and lives in the Health app.

Here's how to set up your medical ID:

1. Open your Health app and tap Create Medical ID, if you've never used the Heath app. Otherwise tap Medical ID> Edit.

2. Enter your emergency contacts and health information, such as your birth date, medical conditions, allergies and blood type.

3. It's important that you turn on "Show When Locked" to make your Medical ID available on your lock screen. In an emergency, this gives people who are trying to help, access to your emergency contacts and medical information.

4. When you're finished, tap "Done".

Here's how to access Medical ID from your lock screen:

1. Tap the "home" button to access the lock screen, then tap on "Emergency" on the bottom left corner.

2. Once you have a Medical ID set up, a Medical ID option should show up on the bottom right corner of the "Emergency Call" screen.

3. Tap on the Medical ID option to access emergency contacts and medical information.

In the U.S., you can sign up to be an organ donor in the Health app and list it under your Medical ID. This feature was made available in 2016 after Apple announced a partnership with Donate Life America.

You can register to be an organ donor under Medical ID.

Adding emergency information on Android phones varies depending on the device and which version of the software you're using. 

In 2016, Google announced a feature with Android Nougat, also known as Android N, which allowed users to add emergency information on their lock screens. The new "Emergency Info" screen is available under the "Users" section, according to Droid Life.

Once on your "Users" screen, tap on "Emergency Info" to add your medical information, emergency contacts and specify if you're an organ donor. The emergency panel is only available if you have a secure lock screen.

The "Emergency Info" panel shows up at the top of the lock screen when the emergency dialer is accessed. It needs to be tapped twice to show the emergency information.

As with anything containing personal information, it's important to remember that there's always a chance your information can be accessed by someone with different intentions, even if its just a friend or co-worker.

It's a good idea to be mindful of the emergency features if you have it set up.

The latest iPhone software update, iOS 11, includes a new feature to quickly disable Touch ID from the lock screen, according to 9 To 5 Mac. Under iOS 11, tapping the lock button five times to access SOS or accessing Medical ID will automatically disable Touch ID and require a passcode to unlock the phone.

The new feature protects users, who may have fallen unconscious, from having someone use their fingerprint to unlock the phone to reveal information other than the emergency details listed in Medical ID.

The iPhone will only accept Touch ID again once a passcode is successful entered. It's obvious that someone could still access an unconscious person's phone before tapping on Medical ID, but one would hope the new feature is relying on honest intentions.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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