Women: if there’s one iOS 11 hidden feature you need to know about, it’s the new “Emergency SOS” function. 

Apple’s new iOS 11 update brought in a new feature which allows users to discreetly ring emergency services by clicking the “sleep/wake button” five times in close succession. Not only that: the update allows you to assign emergency contacts who’ll be notified when you’ve called the emergency services.

For those who’ve ever felt threatened while walking home late at night, the ability make an emergency phone call without even unlocking your home screen—let alone dialing a number—is a game changer. 

To enable the feature, update your iPhone to iOS 11. Once you’ve done that, go to your iPhone’s Settings and scroll down to “Emergency SOS” to toggle the “autocall” function. While you’re there, add in an emergency contact, who’ll be notified if you make a call to the emergency services. 

Women have been taking to Twitter to encourage fellow females to upgrade to iOS 11 immediately and to enable the “Emergency SOS” function, which requires a brief set-up before it’s operational. 

A British domestic violence charity told Mashable the feature has potential to be a “great piece of support for women at risk”. 

“It’s good to know that tech companies have their eye on solutions to counter abuse of women,” Sarah Green, co-director of End Violence Against Women Coalition said in a statement. She also added that the organisation hopes that there is more work going on to “disable and prevent the use of invisible tracking and surveillance apps by abusive men.” 

Women’s rights organisation Collective Shout told HuffPost UK that the feature is “not without risk.” 

“If a woman should be caught trying to utilise this service in a domestic violence attack she may be in even greater danger,” said spokesperson Caitlin Roper. 

Roper stated that “any new technological developments that connect women with aid services and help keep them safe” are positive steps, but she said “a more holistic approach” to addressing domestic violence is required.



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