Staying safe with the help of your smart phone

By Trudy Downs
Vice President, Riderwood Computer Club

Do you ever worry and feel unsafe when you are walking in a parking lot or down the street? If you are an iPhone user, there are new safety/security features on the new operating system that you should know about. Also, for Android users of a Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smart phone there is a new security feature as well.

With iOS 11.0 Apple has included a safety feature that calls 911 in an emergency. On iPhones 6, 7, and 8 just push the power (on/off) switch 5 times and the phone will automatically dial 911. It will give you a count down from 3 before it actually dials the number. So, if you pressed it 5 times by mistake you are able to cancel the call. On the iPhone X just press the power switch and one of the volume controls to bring up the SOS option that calls 911. You can set it to call automatically or by just pressing the option on the screen.

At the same time that it dials 911 it sends a text message with your GPS location and a notice that you contacted 911 to your emergency contact (make sure that the person you designate has a phone with text capability or this is a useless feature). On the iPhone your emergency contact information is included in your Health app with other pertinent medical information. If you own an iPhone make sure to fill out this information in the application as it is available to emergency personnel even if your phone is locked. Another good idea is to include Riderwood Security, (301) 572-8391, in your list of emergency contacts and even your Community Building Front Desk phone number.

The new Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge does not actually call 911. However, it can be activated in an emergency with three quick taps of your power button, and it will immediately send pictures from your front and rear camera to a set of emergency contacts. In addition to that, it sends a message stating that you need help, with your exact location and an audio recording.

Always keep in mind when calling 911 to immediately give your location and phone number to the operator because your GPS may not be giving the exact location and you should always verify the location and your phone number when making a 911 call in case you get cut off.

To learn more about the features of your Apple devices come to one of the two weekly tutoring sessions offered by the Apple Users Group: Tuesday, 1pm-2pm, Town Center Classroom or Wednesday, 10:30 am-11:30 am, Montgomery Station lobby area near the fireplace. For Android questions come to the monthly Computer Roundtable on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, 2 pm – 2:30 pm at the Village Square Music Room. Take advantage of all of the features of your smart phone – be as smart as your grandchildren!

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