When we think about iPhones being able to save our lives, we usually only consider that the device allows us, like any other phone, to call emergency services, but from no matter where we are. But Apple has grander plans for the iPhone as a potential life-saver. In iOS 11 and higher, it has a built-in feature called Medical ID.
Medical ID is a digital version of the health cards that some people with medical conditions carry around. Should they ever become unconscious from an accident, a first responder could look in their wallet or purse to see if they had a medical card, and what conditions they had. This information could greatly help the first responder provider the most relevant medical treatment–and maybe even make it easier to save their lives.
What Is Apple’s Medical ID?
Apple’s Medical ID is the digital version of these old paper cards. It lives inside the Health app in iOS 11 and higher, but anyone is able to access it from the iPhone’s lock screen just by tapping a button. This means that if you are, for example, in a car accident and become unconscious, the emergency support staff that arrives would be able to still get relevant medical information about you by reaching into your pocket and checking your iPhone to see if you had your Medical ID card enabled.
What Information Does Medical ID Contain?
Medical ID can contain as much or as little information as you want it to. That information includes your name and date of birth, any medical conditions you have and medical notes you wish to type, as well as medications you take, allergies and reactions you have, your weight and height, blood type, and organ donor status.
It also contains a section for emergency contacts. You can enter as many emergency contacts as you like. Their contact information entered here will enable a first responder to contact them from your iPhone even if it is locked.
How To Set Up Medical ID
Setting up Medical ID in iOS 13 and above is pretty simple:
- Open the Health app on your iPhone.
- Tap the Summary tab at the bottom of the Health app screen.
- Tap your profile picture button in the top-right corner of the Health app.
- Under the Medical Details heading, tap Medical ID.
- Tap the Edit button.
- Toggle the switch to ON (green) under the Show When Locked setting. This will allow Medical ID to be accessed from your iPhone’s lock screen.
- Enter your name and date of birth, and then begin entering any relevant medical information in the fields provided.
- Under Emergency Contacts, tap the green plus button that says “add emergency contact” and then enter the contact’s name and relationship to you. You can enter as many emergency contacts as you want.
- Tap Done. Your Medical ID is now set up.
Accessing Medical ID On A Locked iPhone 8 Or Earlier
If you come across someone who is unconscious you can access their Medical ID (if they’ve set one up) by doing the following:
- Press the iPhone’s Home button to access the lock/passcode screen.
- Tap the Emergency button in the lower left-hand corner.
- Tap the red Medical ID button in the lower left-hand corner of the Emergency keypad screen. You’ll be taken to the Medical ID screen.
Accessing Medical ID On A Locked iPhone X, XS, XR, or iPhone 11 or higher
Accessing the Medical ID on an iPhone X or later is a bit different.
- With the iPhone X, XS, XR, 11 you press and hold the Side button and the volume up button at the same time.
- Now swipe right across the Medical ID slider. You’ll be taken to the Medical ID screen.
Not an iPhone user? Check out our guide to the Best iPhone You Can Buy Right Now – Spoiler: It’s NOT The Current Flagship!
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.