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How to set up and use Emergency SOS on Android

Understand the setup and use of Android's Emergency SOS for fast response in emergencies.

Published onMay 24, 2023

The smartphone in your pocket is more than just a device for communication or entertainment. When used correctly, it’s a tool that can provide a lifeline in emergencies. Aside from the best emergency apps, one of Android devices’ most critical safety features is Emergency SOS. This lets you quickly call emergency services without wasting time navigating your phone’s interface. We’ll guide you through the steps to set up and use the Emergency SOS feature on your Android device.


To set up and use the Emergency SOS feature on an Android device, open Settings, navigate to the Safety or Advanced features menu, and then activate the Emergency SOS feature. In an emergency, starting SOS typically involves pressing the power button multiple times in rapid succession.


How to set up and use Emergency SOS

Here are the general steps to set up Emergency SOS on an Android device.

To start, open Settings and navigate to Safety and Emergency. On some devices, this may be located in the Advanced features. There, you should be able to toggle Emergency SOS. You may find an option labeled “Send SOS messages” or similar.

You should see a short explanation of how to activate the emergency actions, but just in case, all you need to do is quickly press the Side key five times. The side key is usually the power button on your device.

The default emergency action to be activated is calling local authorities, such as 911. Still, you can also enable to send a message to your emergency contacts, which can be added from the previous menu. Messages will include location information, an audio recording from your phone’s microphone, a written request for help, and a warning if your phone is almost out of battery.

It’s also a good idea to set a countdown in case you accidentally trigger the emergency call. The default is set to ten seconds, which is usually enough time to cancel the call if it was a mistake.

Other emergency and safety features

Besides SOS, here are a few other emergency and safety features you can use on your Android device.

  • Medical Info: You can record your allergies, current medications, and other medical information. This information is then visible from the lock screen without unlocking the phone, which can be helpful for first responders if you’re unable to communicate.
  • Location Service: When you call or text an emergency number or activate SOS, your device can automatically send its location to the emergency responders. This feature isn’t available in every region but can help others find you.
  • Car Crash Detection: Some Android devices also have a car crash detection feature, which can call 911 automatically if the phone detects that you’ve been in a car accident.
  • Emergency Alerts: Your device can receive and display alerts for severe weather, missing persons (AMBER alerts), earthquakes, and other emergencies. You can usually manage these settings in the Apps & Notifications section of the Settings menu.

These features may vary by device and region, and newer devices may have additional safety and emergency features. We recommend referring to your device’s user guide or the manufacturer’s website for the most accurate and current information.

If you have an iPhone, we also have a guide to using Emergency SOS on iOS.


If you accidentally trigger Emergency SOS, your phone will start a countdown before automatically dialing your region’s emergency number. You can cancel the call if you realize your mistake before the countdown ends.

Yes, the Emergency SOS feature on Android devices will dial 911 in the United States or the designated emergency services number in other regions.

Typically, you trigger Emergency SOS by pressing the power button on your device a set number of times, usually three or five, depending on your device settings.

When you activate Emergency SOS, your phone starts a countdown and then automatically dials your region’s emergency services number. If set up, it may also alert your emergency contacts.

If your phone is going into SOS mode randomly, it might be due to accidental presses of the power button. Check your settings and ensure you’re not accidentally triggering the feature. If the problem persists, it might be a software issue, and we’d advise contacting support from the manufacturer.

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