tiny ambulance

Medical ID: How To Save Your Life

How important is your Medical ID? Well, it could save your life! Apple has set up a quick and easy way for you to give access to the people in your life who might need it the most, if something happens to you.

In order for it to be useful you’ll have to set up Medical ID in the Heath app first. Then enable it to show on your lock screen. It’s a great time to update your medical information and review the information if you’ve already entered it.

EMT’s and emergency providers will be able to quickly assess your needs, know what meds you are on, and get a brief medical history, based on what you’ve added.

Any medical information you enter is saved locally on your iPhone, and encrypted. It is never shared with Apple’s servers and Apple cannot access it remotely.

Set up Health Profile

  • Open Health app on iPhone
  • Tap Profile picture in (upper right corner)
  • Select Health Details
  • Fill out your information
  • Tap Profile (upper left corner)  to complete Medical ID


How To Set Up Your Medical ID

  • Select Medical ID
  • Now tap edit (upper right corner)


Here you want to add as much information as you’re comfortable with such as medications, allergies, blood type, medical conditions, emergency contacts and any other relevant information.

Medical ID

Emergency Access in Medical ID

After adding all of your pertinent information you want to make sure you do the following steps.

  • Toggle the switch on to Show Access When Locked
  • Toggle on the switch to Share During Emergency Call
  • When you’re all finished tap done



Enabling these features allow first responders to access your Medical ID info without needing to unlock your device.

If you want to see how these features work:

  • Access your Passcode screen
  • Tap on Emergency
  • Select *Medical ID

Emergency SOS

    Now that you’ve set up your Medical ID, let’s take a look at Emergency SOS. Emergency SOS allows you to, quickly and easily call for help and alert your emergency contacts.

When you initiate the call, your iPhone will automatically call your local emergency number. After your emergency call ends your iPhone will then alert your emergency contacts with a text message and sends them your current location. It also sends updates to your emergency contacts when your location changes for a period of time after you’ve entered SOS mode. You can choose to cancel those alerts.

Setting Up Emergency SOS

  • Tap Settings
  • Scroll and Select Emergency SOS
  • Toggle on Call With Side Button, Auto Call and Countdown sound

It will also remind you to set up your emergency contacts is you’ve forgotten to do so.

How To Call Emergency Services

Making the call on an iPhone 8 or newer model:

  • Press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons. Keep holding until the Emergency SOS slider appears.
  • Drag the Emergency slider to the right to call emergency services.
  • To bypass that, just keep holding the side button and one of the volume buttons, a countdown will appear and will then automatically connect you to emergency services.
Photo from Apple

   On an iPhone 7 or earlier model:

  • Rapidly press the side button or top button five times. The Emergency SOS will appear.
  • Drag the slider to continue the call.


If location services happen to be turned off, it will temporarily turn on to use the service and keep track of your location and send updates to your emergency contacts.

Stop Sharing Your Location

You will receive a reminder to stop location sharing every 4 hours for 24 hours. To stop the updates just tap on the status bar at the top of your iphone and select  “Stop Sharing Emergency Location.” To see this you will have to have activated and emergency call.

Accidentally Making the Call

If by chance you accidentally start the countdown you can cancel it. On the iPhone 8 or newer, release the side button and volume button or hit “Cancel” once it starts.

On the iPhone 7 or earlier models just press the Stop button to cancel the call.

Emergency Contacts

If you haven’t set up your emergency contacts now is a good time to do that.

  • Open the Health app and tap on your profile picture upper right corner.
  • Tap Medical ID, then touch edit top right corner
  • Scroll to Emergency Contacts
  • Tap the + button to add an emergency contact. Make sure you choose their preferred contact number.
  • Add their relationship
  • Tap done


You can add as many contacts as you choose.

Medical ID

Remove Emergency Contacts

To remove someone from your emergency call list:

  • Open the Health app, tap on your profile picture top right corner
  • Tap Medical ID, then touch edit top right corner
  • Scroll to Emergency Contacts
  • Tap on the delete button, (red (-) sign), next to a contact
  • Now tap delete
  • Tap done to save changes.

Medical ID

Turn Off Auto Call

With Auto Call turned on your iPhone begins to countdown and sounds an alert. After the countdown ends, your iPhone calls emergency services. If you would like to have more control over that you can turn Auto Call off.

  • Open Settings
  • Tap Emergency SOS
  • Turn Auto Call off.

   You can still use Emergency SOS but you’ll have to use the slider to make the call.


Hopefully this gives you a good introduction to Medical ID and Emergency SOS.  You can edit, add or just view your info by tapping on the Profile icon on the top right of the summary screen.

Set aside some time to set this up and then maybe revisit it once a year. New Year’s sounds like a good time to review it! If you have a Senior in your life that uses an iPhone you should make sure this is set up!

If you have any questions post them in the comment section below or reach out to me via email. I read and reply to every comment and email I receive.

Check out the video walk through below:


If you’d like one on one tutoring sign up for a free 20 minute consult by clicking here!


Hi, I'm Ellen!

I help mature adults master their iPhone and iPads, even if they aren’t  techie! 

Learn more about me and how I can help you.

Click Here

Let's Connect!

Get My Top 7 Settings For Seniors in iOS