iOS 8 may not seem like much of an update when you first look at it, but in actuality it is one of Apple's most comprehesive changes to the operating system to date. I will be posting about 1 new iOS 8 feature once or twice a week for the next several months as I learn to take advantage of all the great new "goodies" in iOS 8. Here is the first one...
One of the very first things you should do when you update your device to iOS 8 or get a new device that is running iOS 8 is to enable the Medical ID feature...it might just save your life!
What is Medical ID? Medical ID is a feature new to iOS devices with iOS 8 that enables anyone that picks up your phone to access emergency medical information about you. Sounds a little creepy right? I would argue no, but more on that later. Every iPhone has a feature built into the lock screen that enables you to make an emergency phone call to 911 without unlocking the phone. You just simply swipe to unlock and instead of entering the passcode you press the "Emergency" button.
With iOS 8, when you press the emergency button you now get an extra button on the lower left-hand corner that says "*Medical ID".
If you press the *Medical ID button it takes you to an emergency medical ID for the iPhone's owner. You can choose to share information with someone who find you and your iPhone when you are in serious trouble. In cases where you need emergency medical treatment there are certain things you may want people to know very quickly, like:
- Your Doctor's phone number
- A family member or friend's emergency contact number
- Your blood type
- Birth Date (your age)
- Any known medical conditions
- Allergies and reactions
- Medications you are currently taking
- Whether you are an organ donor
- Your weight and height
Why would you want to use *Medical ID? I've been using the analog version of *Medical ID for years...it's called RoadID. RoadID is an ID that you wear while you are out exercising so that if you are in some kind of an accident and are unable to talk you have some medical information on you to help the person that finds you. This is especially important when you are out exercising because most of the time you are not carrying any kind of ID. The RoadID comes in many forms (necklace, bracelet, a clip for your shoestrings) and I've been riding my bike and running with a RoadID for years. Many people also wear Medical ID bracelets when they have certain medical conditions like severe allergies, epilepsy, diabetes).
The reason you would want to disclose this information is for your own protection. If you are in a serious accident or even just a minor accident but are unable to speak, you would want the person that finds you to be able to contact someone to get you some help. Yes, you are giving out a little bit of information to anyone that picks up your iPhone but in my opinion the potential reward greatly outweighs the risk. At the very least populate *Medical ID with you last name and the phone number of your doctor. That would at least give someone who found you a place to start.
How to setup *Medical ID
*Medical ID is part of the new Health App that comes pre-installed on your device with iOS. Enter the app and press the button on the lower right-hand side of the screen labled "Medical ID". From there you can choose to share as little or as much information as you would like (even none at all, which is the default.
Do you and your loved-ones a favor and at least put some kind of identifying information into *Medical ID, hopefully you will never be glad you did but at least its there just in case...