WIT: Apple Included This One Feature Every Woman Should Know About

 

 

 

By LANI SEELINGER of Bustle.com

The new iPhone update is officially out, and say what you will about the new aesthetic features, there’s one feature that could potentially save lives. With the iOS 11, you can place an emergency SOS call from a locked iPhone, and really, this trick is something every woman should know about the new update.

In previous iPhone operating systems, you could call emergency services from a locked screen or by giving Siri the command “charge my phone 100 percent.” While those were effective ways to get yourself out of trouble in most cases, the former wouldn’t always work if the phone’s screen was broken, and the latter wasn’t very discreet.

Now, Apple has fixed both of those problems with this new update. Hopefully you’ll never need to use this feature, but if you should ever be in a tight spot when even speaking to your phone or bringing it out to look at would be dangerous, now you can just quickly press the sleep/wake button five times, and then it will automatically get you in touch with emergency services. If you’ve set an emergency contact in the phone, it will also alert that person that you’re in trouble and give them your location.

And just as an emergency feature should be, it’s incredibly easy to enable.

If you do want it to make a phone call automatically after you’ve pressed the sleep/wake button five times, you have to enable “Auto Call” in your settings. The automatic setting also comes with a protection against just accidentally calling 911 — pressing the button five times starts a three-second countdown, which comes with a countdown noise so you have a chance to cancel the call if you’ve triggered it accidentally. You can turn that countdown sound off in the settings, though. You might want that if you were in a circumstance where an iPhone sound could alert a potential criminal to your location — which, again, is hopefully a situation that you will never find yourself in.

There are a couple of limitations to the feature; for example, it only works in certain countries. If you’re not in the U..S, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain or the UK, then you’ll have to wait for a future update to take advantage of it. All things considered — including the large percentage of the world’s population in those countries — it’s not bad for a start.

While this update will make every iPhone user who has access to it just a little bit safer, it’s especially key for women, who are in many ways much more in danger of being targeted in their everyday lives than men. This could be an effective way to help women who find themselves facing intimate partner violence, a situation in which it’s easy to imagine that even the simple act of making a phone call could put the woman in far greater danger than if she were able to make the call more discreetly.

From a woman’s perspective, this is a big improvement over the days when Apple found itself in hot water for not including a menstrual cycle tracker in its health app update back in 2014. They did manage to fix that little bug back in 2015, this is another signal that Apple is really making a commitment to keeping women safe and healthy. Really the only thing you have to worry about here is activating the call without knowing it — but are you really in the habit of pressing the sleep/wake button five times without paying attention to it? This is a case where it’s definitely better safe than sorry.

Tell us your thoughts on this new personal safety feature in the comments below!

App of the Week: Trusted Contacts

 

Google brings it’s emergency location tracking app to iOS.

 

 

By Brett Williams of Mashable

Smartphones allow us to stay in contact with our loved ones more closely than ever before, but some of the most important features, like location sharing, are only functional when everyone uses the same operating system on their devices.  

That’s about to change. Google is bringing its Trusted Contacts location sharing app to iOS, making it even easier for families that span the Android-iPhone divide to keep track of each other during emergencies. 

The app comes to iOS after debuting for Android last year. Users can now proactively share their location with their in-group or search for the last place a friend or loved one was active on their phone if they suddenly go silent, no matter their OS. 

iOS devices already have a similar feature with Find My Friends, but Trusted Contacts expands the scope of the tracking abilities across operating systems. That means a loved one with an iPhone can pinpoint the last active location of a Samsung Galaxy S8, for example, and vice versa.

The new iOS Trusted Contacts app comes with a round of updates for the service for all users. You can now add people to your “trusted contacts” list by their phone number, and the app sends an SMS to them to connect. 

Users can also choose how quickly their location will be automatically shared if they know they’ll be away from their phone and unable to answer. The default setting had been five minutes, but now the response time can be set at any time from immediately to an hour.   

Privacy might be a concern for people who don’t want their loved ones to have a constant bead on their location — but if it’s that big of a deal, those people don’t have to download the app. Google told Mashable last year at the launch of the Android version that Trusted Contacts is “necessary” no matter the privacy concerns, since emergency situations can make it impossible for people to respond to messages.  

The Trusted Contacts expansion follows Google’s new SOS alerts, a set of features for Search and Maps designed to make emergency information more accessible to all in the event of a crisis. Google might not be able to prevent disasters, but it’s taking steps to help those affected. 

What steps have you taken on your phone to ensure your family can reach you in an emergency? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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