The hidden feature on your phone that could save your life

Man yelling at his phone.
Have your emergency contacts and medical info ready at the touch of a button for helpers to access. Photo credit: Getty.

Most smartphones have a hidden feature that may come in very handy. While ICE (in case of emergency) contacts exist, they're not your best bet in the case of a real-life, debilitating emergency. That's where this lifehack comes in and save the day (and maybe your life).

In the case of a car accident, bad fall, or any emergency leaving you unable to use your hands or communicate, it's unlikely your helpers will be able to access your ICE contact. 

Most people have a password-lock on their phone to protect sensitive information - a wise choice. But if you can't communicate, police, ambulance staff, or bystanders can't access the vital information needed to help you.

However, a lot of people don't know that smartphones have a feature allowing you to access ICE data from your lock screen. This feature includes emergency contacts and allows you to input specific medical information.

iPhone ICE data info below:

iPhone's Health app allows you to set up a medical ID. The ID will display important medical information and ICE contacts, accessible from your lock screen. If the Emergency SOS feature is used, ICE contacts will be contacted and updated on your location.

Here's the steps to setting up your accessible medical ID:

  1. Open the Health app and select the "Medical ID" tab - should be bottom right.
  2. Select "Edit" at the top of the screen
  3. Make sure the "Show When Locked" slider is green.
  4. Fill in the various fields. Fill in any irrelevant sections with "N/A" or "None".
  5. Add emergency contacts in the bottom section - the contacts need to be in your phone already for the app to access it. You can add as many as you need.
  6. Once you've selected a contact, make sure to mark their relationship to you.

Voilà! Test it out by locking your phone then waking it up to show the passcode lock screen/Touch ID. Tap "Emergency" to bring up the SOS keypad. "Medical ID" should be in the bottom left. Double-check all your ICE information is correct and accessible.

There are plenty of step-by-step tutorials online for Android users, too.

For any smartphone that may not have the ICE information display feature, you can always write the necessary information in a note-taking app, screenshot the page, and set it as your lock screen. While the numbers won't be dialable, everything will be instantly there - just ICE.