iPhone and Apple Watch will soon make it easy to share medical ID information during emergency calls. Basic details like allergies and medications can be sent to a dispatcher during the call.
This feature appeared in iOS 13.5 developer beta 4, which debuted on Wednesday.
iPhone shares medical ID info with 911
The iPhone’s Health app already enables users to store medical ID info, such as date of birth, blood type, medical conditions, primary language, etc. And this information can show up on the Lock screen, giving first responders access to it without a passcode.
Starting with the fourth beta of iOS 13.5, this information can be shared during an emergency call. This is completely optional. But, as Apple notes in the Health app, “Sharing your Medical ID information can help emergency services provide improved response.“
This requires support for the Enhanced Emergency Data service (.pdf) in your area.
Others changes coming in iOS 13.5
The major feature coming in iOS 13.5 also relates to health. Today’s beta is the second prerelease version that contains the coronavirus contact-tracing tool that Apple is creating in cooperation with Google. The API enables Bluetooth “chirps” to anonymously track physical interactions between smartphone users. If an individual finds out they are infected with COVID-19, the system would notify other smartphone users who had come into close proximity with them. The opt-in system could help slow the spread of the disease by warning people of potential infections.
The latest beta reveals more about how Apple’s COVID-19 Exposure Notifications system will work. As seen in a screenshot shared on Reddit, Exposure Logging cannot take place until the user downloads an authorized app. Apple and Google say they will limit such apps to one per country or state.
Assuming the Exposure Notifications feature makes it to the release version of iOS 13.5 unchanged from today’s beta, the operating system will offer the option of toggling Exposure Logging on and off. As per the screenshot, it also will give users the options to delete their exposure logs. Those logs will contain 14 days of random IDs generated when users’ smartphones come near other participants’ devices.
That’s not Apple’s only new tool for battling the coronavirus, either. iOS 13.5 should make unlocking your iPhone while wearing a protective mask a little quicker. Plus, for all those people chatting while in lockdown, a Group FaceTime feature some find irritating can be disabled in the upcoming iOS version.
Not for everyone… yet
iOS 13.5 remains in beta testing, with the most-recent version available only to devs. Only paying members of Apple’s developer program got access to iOS 13.5 beta 4 on Wednesday. But Apple likely will release a public version soon.