9 Tips for Preparing Your Android Phone for an Emergency

By | May 3, 2022

With all that your phone can do, have you ever thought about how you can use it in an emergency? From finding your way back home to getting medical help, it’s wise to have your device ready so it’s better prepared for an emergency.

Here are essential tips and apps that you can use to prepare your Android phone for urgent situations.

Enable Locked Mode

One of the new Android Pie features that Google added is a handy security feature called Lockdown. With it, you can instantly turn off some settings that can make your personal data vulnerable to unauthorized access.

When enabled, Lockdown mode disables fingerprint authentication. It prevents intruders or law enforcement officers from forcing you to unlock your phone, plus hides notifications on the lock screen.

Additionally, it turns off Smart Lock, a convenience feature that unlocks your phone when in the vicinity of the device or other configured locations. The only way to get your phone out of Lockdown is to enter your password or PIN manually.

However, this tool is not enabled by default, so you must enable it. To do that, open Settings, scroll down until you find Security & location, and there, tap Lock Screen Preferences. Enable Show lockdown options and you’re set. You’ll find the option to put your phone in Lockdown mode on the same menu that lets you turn it off; just press and hold the power button.

While placing your phone on lock won’t ensure your data is completely safe, it’s a quick way to build a wall against anyone who might try to access your phone through force.

Update Your Emergency Information

To notify paramedics (or others) of your emergency information and contacts, Android comes with a native utility that puts those details on the lock screen. Of course, you must first add the necessary data to it.

For that, go to Settings > About Phone > Emergency Information. Now, fill in the important fields like your name, blood type, whether you are an organ donor, allergies and emergency contact. To view the saved data, swipe up on the lock screen, tap Emergency, then select Emergency Information.

Note that these steps may differ depending on your phone maker. If you can’t find an option under the section mentioned, try searching for it.

Activate Emergency Alert

Whenever there is a new potential threat in your area, Android can send you a government-distributed public broadcast. Even though your phone is generally set to accept it by default, you should make sure of it.

You’ll find this option under Settings > Apps & Notifications > Advanced > Emergency Alerts. Here, you can select the types of alerts you want to keep updated on and choose if you want your phone to vibrate for them.

Plus, Android can automatically turn up the volume when there’s a new broadcast and dictate messages using text-to-speech. This setting is optional, but we recommend that you keep it enabled if you don’t want to miss anything.

Use the Built-In SOS Shortcut

In some regions and on some devices, Android has an SOS shortcut. When you trigger it, your phone automatically transmits a distress signal and your location to local emergency services. If your mobile data or phone location is not turned on, tapping the SOS shortcut will force it to be enabled.

This method will differ depending on where you live and your phone. On my Pixel 3 with stock Android in India, for example, the option is in the old power menu. But this is not the case for the Pixel 3 in the US.

Samsung phones have more advanced solutions. It informs your emergency contacts with your location, audio recordings, and even pictures. Find it under Settings > Advanced features > Send SOS messages.

Try the Medical ID App

If you find Android’s native emergency information feature to be too limited and not easily visible on your lock screen, try a third-party app called Medical ID.

Medical ID leaves your health data right on the lock screen as a persistent notification. You can also add more data in it, such as your height, weight, date of birth, and more. In addition, long pressing the Medical ID notification allows you to directly call emergency services.

Download: Free Medical ID (Free) | Medical ID ($6.50)

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Download Map Offline

Getting stuck in an area with a bad signal can harm you if you don’t know where you are. To make sure you know how to get home, download maps for offline navigation on Google Maps.

To take an offline map of a location, run the Google Maps app on your phone and search for the place you are going. In the information card, you will find an option labeled Download. Press that, select an area to download, and tap Download again to save it.

Download: Google Maps (Free)

Consult a First Aid Application

Emergencies can occur at any time, and help is not always available immediately. So, it is very important that you have the skills to handle a crisis. The American Red Cross First Aid app is a great starting point for this.

It features a number of resources for dealing with unexpected health issues when you’re in the middle of nowhere. You can change it in the event of an injury, asthma attack, fracture, and more.

Content, as you would expect, can be viewed without an internet connection. First Aid also has a hospital tab showing the nearest medical center. It comes integrated with 911 which lets you call EMS from the app.

Download: First aid (Free)

Stay Connected with Google Trusted Contacts

Google Trusted Contacts is a security app that lets you keep tabs on the whereabouts of your loved ones. You can share your location with trusted contacts in real-time and request them.

Users have the option to temporarily or permanently grant access to their location and revoke this whenever they want. In the app, you can post updates in transit to let others know about your status.

What’s more, there is an emergency feature that automatically shares your location with your trusted contacts if you don’t respond to a request within a certain period of time.

Download: Trusted Contacts (Free)

Setting Kitestring for SMS Based Checks

While out in the wild, you’ll come across scenarios where your phone doesn’t have access to cellular data. Enter Kitestring, an SMS-based service that checks for you every few minutes.

Once you’ve signed up for Kitestring, you can be notified when you’re out and it will periodically text you. If you do not reply to this, Kitestring will alert the configured emergency contact with a personalized message. The service also works internationally, which is perfect for travel. However, you will incur additional roaming charges for this.

Kitestring is free, provided you’re okay with the limit of three sessions a month and one emergency contact. For more, you have to pay a monthly fee of $3.

Visit: Kitestring (Free, subscription available)

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