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This emergency feature on your smartphone could save your life

This emergency feature on your smartphone could save your life
© Innovatedcaptures | Dreamstime

In case you didn't know, aside from cable TV, there's another form of cord-cutting that's spreading - and that's cutting the traditional landline phone.

For many holdovers, however, a traditional landline is not just a nostalgic security blanket but it actually has one big advantage over mobile phones - emergency services calling.

It still holds true that landlines are more reliable in emergencies since copper phone lines have their own power supplies and won't go down in case a blackout occurs.

(Note: This might change soon though since landline providers are upgrading their equipment with newer technology that requires backup batteries during power outages instead.)

Additionally, since landlines are tied to an address, 911 dispatchers can accurately locate your house or apartment in case of an emergency. (A cellphone's GPS system can currently only provide an approximate location.)

But as people rely more on their mobile phones as their sole source of communication, how will this affect emergency calling to numbers like 911 or emergency contacts?

Click here to read more about who's keeping the landline.

However, despite these advantages during emergencies, if you have decided to completely ditch your landline, it's worth knowing that you still have good SOS options built-in to your smartphone.

This is an example of the valuable information we give you for free on Komando.com - everyone in your family needs to know about this.

Samsung Galaxy SOS tool

It is not a well-known feature, but the Samsung Galaxy line of smartphones, including the Note line, have a built-in safety and emergency tool called Safety Assistance.

To activate this feature on your Samsung phone, go to your Settings menu, tap Quick Settings, Privacy, and Emergency, and turn on Send SOS Messages. Alternatively, you can go to Settings, tap Advanced Features to get to the same Send SOS Messages toggle.

Check the boxes for Send Pictures and Send Sound Recording and select "Manage Primary Contacts" to add your emergency contacts from your contact list.

When this feature is turned on, you can press the Power button on your phone quickly three times to send out an SOS message to your emergency contacts.

The text message includes your GPS location, photos taken from the front and rear cameras, as well as what the phone’s microphone picks up in a short recording.

Google Trusted Contacts

General Android users can also take advantage of the recently released Google Trusted Contacts safety app. Google Trusted Contacts lets you select specific people on your contacts list so that you're covered every time you step out.

These people need to be individuals you trust since they'll be able to see some private details about your phone's activity in the app, such as its movement and connection status, battery level and whether you were active in the past hour.

Similar to the other location tracking safety apps, you can also share your location with your trusted contacts and alert them when you arrive at your destination. They'll even be able to request your location if they ever think you're in trouble. If you don't respond to this request within five minutes, the app will automatically share your location.

Google Trusted Contacts is also available for iOS devices. For similar features, iPhone users can likewise use Apple's location sharing app, Find My Friends.

SOS safety feature for iOS 11

Speaking of Apple. iPhone owners will be getting a similar SOS feature soon. iOS 11 will reportedly come with an Emergency SOS option similar to Samsung phones.

When this feature is enabled, it automatically dials the number for emergency services, depending on location. Obviously, in the U.S. it's 911.

The new feature is designed to help someone who's in trouble contact emergency services more quickly.

To activate the feature, simply tap the sleep/wake button rapidly five times. That action bypasses TouchID and your gadget calls 911.

Once activated, a warning sound will play, along with a brief countdown before calling 911. If you don't have Emergency SOS enabled, you can still access the feature.

Tap the sleep/wake button five times and a screen will appear with an SOS slider. Just swipe the slider from left to right and your phone will dial 911. Two more sliders will also appear, one to power off your gadget and one to access your Medical ID.

Similar to Samsung's Safety Assistance, this iOS Emergency SOS feature can also send a message to specific "emergency contacts" and notify them of your location.

However, this feature also has a side effect - it disables TouchID. So if you want to unlock your iPhone using your fingerprints, you'll need to enter your passcode again.

Click here to learn how to get the iOS 11 beta and try its new features now!

These emergency features for both Samsung and Apple smartphones can definitely be lifesavers during emergency situations. It's not just the built-in apps for Android and iOS that can help you out when you're in dire need though.

There are also a number of third-party emergency apps you can try, including one that uses its own separate hardware. Click here to read more about apps that can save your life in an emergency.

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