Ways to call 911 on your smartphone, safety apps


By Kim Komando

Signal Contributing Writer

In these troubled times, when we’re dealing with a pandemic and protests compounded with the usual risks of accidents and crime, your smartphone can be your emergency notifier. Sure, you know about AAA for your car. For more information, visit bit.ly/2B8ZTyp.

I’m talking about something more important, that is, your life. 

Share this critical information with your loved ones. It’s probably one of the most important things you’ll read in a very long time.

How to call 911 on an iPhone

If you’re using an iPhone, the Emergency SOS feature will call emergency services and notify your emergency contacts when you can’t. In the U.S., your iPhone will dial 911 and connect you to an operator. After that call concludes, it will then send a text message to your emergency contacts (unless you choose to cancel). 

Your phone will send your current location to your contacts and update them if your location changes. Even if you keep your iPhone’s location services turned off, the phone will automatically turn it on during Emergency SOS.

How to call 911 on Android

With Android, settings and features vary based on smartphone manufacturer or version of the operating system. However, these steps to contact 911 during an emergency work on many modern Android handsets. 

First, hold down the power button until you see an option for Emergency Mode. Tap it and that will bring up five options: Flashlight, Emergency, Share My Location, Phone and Internet.

Below those options, there will be a button for Emergency Call. Tap the button and it will verify if you want to call 911. Confirm and your phone will go into power-saving mode to conserve battery. 

Google Pixel smartphones and a few other Android devices allow you to send vital information to dispatchers using Google’s automated voice service. During an emergency call, you can tap Medical, Fire or Police if you’re unable to speak.

Google just rolled out a new Personal Safety and Safety Check apps for its Pixel 3 and 4 phones. 

Best safety apps to the rescue

Here are two of the best ones out there for keeping your loved ones safe:


One thing you’re going to love about bSafe is its simplicity. You can activate an SOS alarm with the simple press of a button. Your contacts will receive a sound alarm with your location and they will be able to see and hear everything in real-time. 

With a premium subscription, everything is automatically recorded by audio and video and sent to your contact’s phones. If your phone is in your pocket, purse or jacket, you don’t need to press the SOS button. Simply say the phrase that you’ve preselected to activate the alarm and your contacts will get the SOS notification.


Kitestring is an SMS service that will check on you. For example, let Kite
string know when you’re heading out for a late-night walk or meeting with a stranger for a date. Kitestring will send you a text message at the time you indicate beforehand. If you do not respond, your emergency contacts will receive a personalized alert message. 

Both apps are available for both Android and iOS.

For information on Kim Komando on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks, visit her at Komando.com. 

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