How to send an emergency SOS on Apple Watch

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Apple Watch Emergency SOS
Emergency SOS isn’t always useful.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

When Apple launches watchOS 3 to the public later this fall, Apple Watch wearers will be able to automatically call for help if they find themselves in an emergency situation.

The new SOS feature in watchOS 3 will make Apple Watch even more of a lifesaver for wearers by placing a 911 call within 10 seconds, even if they don’t have their iPhone.

Here’s how it works:


1) Open the Watch app on your iPhone
2) Go to General >> Emergency SOS
3) Tap Add Contact to notify someone in addition to emergency services

Apple Watch emergency SOS

To activate the Emergency SOS, press and hold the side button on Apple Watch for six seconds. A menu will pop up bringing up the option. Pressing the SOS button will send a text message to your contact, alerting them that you’ve made a call to local emergency services.

In order to make a call, the Emergency SOS feature requires the wearer to be within a known Wi-Fi hotspot or connected to an iPhone.

SOS also works even if you have Location Services disabled. The feature temporarily enables Location Services without any user input in order to help responders find your location as well as your emergency contacts.

Once the crisis is over, Apple Watch will send a notification to your contacts, alerting them that the issue has been resolved. Apple will roll out SOS for free to all Apple Watch wearers this fall, along with a host of other features that completely revamp Apple’s wearable.