CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- One of the biggest takeaways I've had from working in news is the importance of being aware of your surroundings.
As an avid runner who loves tuning out to my music, watching stories break like Vanessa Marcotte's and Karina Vetrano's, who were both murdered while jogging, shook me to the core. I figured there were two ways to handle these terrible events: be afraid and allow that fear to limit you, or be aware.
I chose being aware. I now run with mace spray. I don't listen to my music loud enough so I can't hear what's going on around me. If I go somewhere new for an interview, you can bet a co-worker knows the address and timing of the interview.
But one of the things that really surprised me was the lifesaving feature at my fingertips. I was so blown away that I reached out to some friends to see if they had any idea about simple tricks you could do with your iPhone that could help in the event of an emergency. Out of the 10 people I asked, eight had not heard of Apple's new emergency feature.
"These are the types of features I want to know about on my phone, even more-so than the 'fun' new features," 23-year-old Haley Doyle said.
"I didn't know that was a possibility," 24-year-old Erica Grigsby said of her iPhone. "I feel like Apple should definitely make that a (more) known feature."
Apple added in "Emergency SOS" in their iOS 11 update which was released in September. The discreet feature is designed to allow users to quickly call emergency services.
The feature appears to work differently depending on your phone. Here are the details:
For iPhone 7, iPhone 6, iPhone 5 and earlier versions:
If you press the lock button five times in a row on your phone, you'll get this screen featured below. When you swipe the SOS icon, your phone will immediately call the local emergency number.
According to Apple, iPhone users can also add emergency contacts. After an emergency call ends, your phone will text your contact, unless you choose to cancel.
"Your iPhone sends them your current location, and, for a period of time after you enter SOS mode, it sends updates to your emergency contacts when your location changes."
For iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus:
If you press and hold the side/lock button and one of the volume buttons, it'll prompt the Emergency SOS to appear. From there, you can either slide the icon or continue to hold the side button and volume button. If you hold the two buttons instead of dragging the slider, a countdown will begin and an alert sounds, Apple said.
"If you hold down the buttons until the countdown ends, your iPhone automatically calls emergency services," Apple said.
How to add in emergency contacts:
If you open the Health app downloaded on iPhones, tap the Medical ID tab. Then, tap edit and scroll to Emergency Contacts. From there you add an emergency contact like any other contact, but include their relationship.
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