Here’s Exactly What Apple Sends to Emergency Contacts During an SOS

Emergency SOS iPhone Credit: Littlepigpower / Shutterstock
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Apple continues to make its emergency contact feature more useful, but users still have some questions – and one common question regards what emergency contacts see when they get an emergency message from you.

If you aren’t quite familiar with how the emergency contact system works, you can assign contacts in your iPhone as “emergency contacts” in the Health app.

Then, if you feel threatened, briefly hold the side button and any volume button on your iPhone, and you will get an Emergency SOS option to activate.

This will automatically call emergency services and send an alert to all the contacts you have listed as emergency contacts.

As you can imagine, this is useful for anything from dealing with a burning house to helping prevent an assault or reporting a medical emergency.

However, Apple isn’t as clear about what happens when your emergency contacts are, well, contacted – and that can make it difficult to choose the right contacts for this position. Let’s clear it up:

What Do Emergency Contacts See?

Your contact(s) get a message that says “Emergency SOS. [Your Contact Name] called emergency services. [Your First Name] has listed you as an emergency contact.”

That’s it – in the beginning. Your iPhone will also use its location data to send a follow-up message as you move around.

It will say something like, “Emergency SOS. The approximate location of [Your Contact Name] has changed.” This will be followed by a link to Apple Maps that will display your location for your contact to see.

As you continue moving, Apple will continue sending periodic updates and new links to Apple Maps with your location.

Of course, you don’t want that to continue once the situation is resolved.

  1. Afterward, you can go into Settings.
  2. Head to Emergency SOS.
  3. Then select the message that will appear at the top saying Stop Sharing Emergency Location.
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