Ever wondered how the emergency services could contact a friend or relative if you were found unconscious with only your Smartphone for identification?
Medical ID or ICE stands for “in case of emergency,” and it’s what many of us have been taught to look for if someone needs medical attention in a first aid incident. Well, what if that person is you? Where is your ICE info? One of the easiest and most convenient places to keep emergency information is on your smartphone, but only if you know the right way to do it so that someone can see it without having to unlock your phone. Now is a great time to make sure you and everyone in your family has ICE info on their phone, especially with Christmas and new round the corner and smartphone-carrying students who might be heading back to school.
ICE on iPhone
If you have an iPhone, you can add emergency contact information and medical notes so that’s it’s accessible to anyone from your lock screen.
1. Open the Apple Health app, which is installed on all iOS devices running iOS 8 and later. This app can’t be uninstalled.
2. Tap on Medical ID in the bottom right corner.
3. Tap Create Medical ID.
4. At the very top, make sure Show When Locked is turned on (to green). Fill in as much information as is relevant to you. If you have no known allergies or aren’t taking medication, it still helps to write “None” or “None known” so that medical personnel don’t assume you’ve overlooked these fields.
5. Make sure you assign at least one person as your emergency contact person. You must save that person’s name and phone number in your Contacts app for the Health app to be able to include it.
6. Hit Done to save.
Now here’s how to test it to make sure it worked, and to make sure you know what to look for if you ever have to find someone else’s ICE info. Lock your phone. Now wake it up but don’t fully unlock it with the passcode or Touch ID. When you slide to get to the passcode screen, you should see Emergency at the top. Press it, and a new screen appears with a number keypad to dial, as well as Medical ID in the bottom left. Press Medical ID, and you’ll see your information appear along with a phone icon that, when pressed, will automatically dial your ICE contact. Note that while you can find ICE apps in the App Store, they are not accessible from a locked phone! You should always lock your iPhone with a passcode or TouchID for security reasons, meaning these ICE apps are useless in a real emergency. Use the Apple Health app instead.
ICE on Android
Depending on which phone you have and which version of Android you’re running, you might have an emergency contact feature in your phone’s setting. Check there first. It might be under a sub-menu such as My Information.
If you can’t find an emergency contact field within the settings, there are apps for adding ICE info, but you’ll need one that has a widget accessible from the lock screen. Note that not all versions of Android support lock screen apps anymore. It’s tricky.
I also recommend not relying on an app that sends emergency information via text messaging. When a true emergency is happening, first responders need to know whether they’ve reached an emergency contact. They can’t wait around for someone to reply to a text message.
For Android 4.2 and later, the ICE: In Case of Emergency app ($3.99) seems promising (I haven’t personally tested it), I have the free medical ID app. It has a lock screen widget and lets you save important information as well as ICE names and numbers. Some user feedback suggests that it may disable alarms, however. If you use your Android as an alarm clock, you might want to consider other options before shelling out four bucks for this app.