Did you know that Apple’s iOS includes an Apple Medical ID that anyone can access right from your lock screen, even without your password?
The Apple Medical ID has been around since iOS 8, over a year ago as I write this. Yet it seems that awareness is low.
I had the opportunity to use the Apple Medical ID the other day, and I wonder if I was crazy thinking that anyone knew about it.
It appears that I was (crazy).
I was unwell and about to get on a plane. My intention was to land and to go straight to the emergency room. In the event that I needed medical assistance during the flight but was unable to let people know what was going on, I thought a stewardess might be able to see what was going on with my health and who to contact through the medical ID.
Of course, that wouldn’t work if the stewardesses didn’t know to check my phone.
After asking around, I don’t think enough people know about the Apple Medical ID feature. I got back to the office after my stay in the emergency room and checked with some colleagues. Even though they were on the latest iOS neither knew what I was talking about. Needless to say, when i showed them they didn’t have the Apple Medical ID setup.
The Apple Medical ID is the kind of thing that doesn’t work if people don’t know about it. (Duh)
Are stewards/stewardesses trained to look at people’s phones? Are EMTs? Police officers? Even emergency room doctors, what about them?
Please share this post as a public service. It may save a life.
What is the Apple Medical ID?
It’s a page on your lock screen that contains emergency contact information (which can be called directly, even without your passcode), your blood type, organ donor information, and freeform fields for notes, conditions, medications, and allergies.
The notes field is freeform, so you’re able to put things like, as in my case, a recent procedure and diagnosis so that if something happens emergency medical staff know where to begin triage. The contact information is associated to a relationship – like spouse, friend, or doctor.
Even if you don’t have a medical issue, it’s a great idea to have one or two people to contact in case of emergency, including a doctor. Anyone can call those numbers from your phone with one tap even if your phone is locked.
In truth, this is also great for the situation where an honest person finds your phone should you lose it. Someone that wants to return your phone can call your contacts to find out who you are and get in touch. I’ve been able to return phones I’ve found in the past, but only because I answered incoming calls.
How do you access the Apple Medical ID?
- From the lock screen swipe to the right (in the direction of “slide to unlock”).
- Hit “Emergency” on the lower left.
- Hit “Medical ID”, again on the lower left. It won’t be there if it’s not setup.
How do you add information to the Apple Medical ID?
You do it from the Health App.
- The Health App is a white icon with a red heart. You can swipe down from any home screen, or swipe left from the main home screen, and find the app by typing “health” in the search box.
- In the bottom right corner of the Health App is an icon for “Medical ID”. Tap the icon.
- Hit “Edit” in the top right corner of the “Medical ID” page to enter information.
- Make sure that “Show When Locked” is on. I don’t remember if ‘on’ is the default behavior.
- In addition to whatever information you want to add, make sure to add emergency contacts (and relationships) to the emergency contacts field so that they can be dialed even when the phone is locked.
Others have written about the Apple Medical ID before, but it seems that we need to get some visibility into the non-techie audience.
Let people know about this. Please?