An update coming in iOS 13.5 and watchOS 6.2.5 will link Apple’s Medical ID and Emergency SOS features to automatically send Medical ID information to the emergency services (via 9to5Mac).
Medical ID is a section of iOS that lets you upload medical information like allergies or medications and is accessible by holding the side button of modern iPhones. If you’re found unresponsive bt strangers, this feature exists to let them know your existing medical conditions.
Emergency SOS is also accessed in the same way and lets your iPhone or Apple Watch call the emergency services for you if you’re injured or in need. It helps triangulate your position so that first responders can find you and assist.
The two features currently exist together but unlinked, which is what the new software update is said to change. Now, if your device invokes an Emergency SOS call, the first responders will be sent your Medical ID. 9to5Mac said:
“Medical ID information is stored in iCloud in an encrypted format and encrypted when in transit. This privacy is maintained with the new capability by relying on Enhanced Emergency Data to securely share the data with first responders.”
The feature is available in the beta versions of both iOS and watchOS, so should be added to their respective public software releases. The report also says that Medical ID will be sent to emergency services responding to calls from the Fall Detection feature that calls services if someone wearing an Apple Watch Series 4 or 5 falls and is unresponsive.
It’s a small but thoughtful addition from Apple that should hopefully help to better inform emergency services when they arrive at the scene.