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Medical ID Set Up on iPhone: In Case of An Emergency

Setting up medical ID on your phone could prove to be a life or death decision. Learn how to set up medical ID on your phone lock screen here.

Patrick Hicks

Patrick Hicks, @PatrickHicks

Head of Legal, Trust & Will

Did you know that your iPhone has an emergency feature that could make the difference in a life or death scenario? It’s called Medical ID, and it works closely with the Emergency SOS feature. Don’t believe us? Just hold down your power button and take a look for yourself. (Exact buttons vary based on your phone model.) This little-known feature allows first responders to access your medical information in an emergency. It’s in your best interest to set it up right away. In this guide, we will take you through the steps of Medical ID setup on iPhone.

What is Medical ID on iPhone?

Medical ID is a feature included in the iPhone’s health application. If you don’t think you downloaded such an app, don’t worry. It’s a default feature that comes with any iPhone, so you likely have it unless you deleted it.

The Medical ID is set up so that it can be accessed easily and quickly by first responders in the case of an emergency. They do not need to enter your passcode to access critical medical information. You can fill out information such as any health conditions you may have or allergies to medications. If you were incapacitated, you could still receive emergency medical care that aligns with your needs.

However, it’s on you to set up the feature and fill out your personal details. You also have to enable the feature such that it can be accessed from your lock screen. We will show you how to do exactly that.

What Does a Medical ID Do?

Now, you may be wondering what all Medical ID can do in an emergency setting. Again, the extent of its effectiveness depends on how much personal information you choose to put in. Here is a list of all the different things you can set up Medical ID to do:

  • Provide identification by including your name, date of birth, age, and Apple ID photo

  • Your blood type

  • Your height and weight 

  • Any existing medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, cancer are examples)

  • A list of medications you’re currently taking

  • A list of your allergies and reactions, including medications you’re allergic to

  • Additional medical notes, such as if you’ve had gastric bypass or have a pacemaker

  • Your emergency contacts and their phone numbers

  • Organ donor status

How to See Medical ID on iPhone Lock Screen

Wondering how to see Medical ID on your iPhone lock screen? We got you. Follow these instructions.

  1. Access your phone’s lock screen. For older models, this involves pressing the power button and then clicking on the home button. For newer models with face ID, you can swipe from the bottom up. 

  2. Once you’re on the “enter passcode” screen, you can access your Medical ID.

  3. Look at the bottom-left corner of the screen and tap “Emergency.”

  4. This screen allows you to dial a phone number in case of emergency.

  5. In the same area (the bottom-left corner), you should now see the button for Medical ID.

  6. Tap on Medical ID to open.

If you do not see the Medical ID option, it may be because of your settings. To allow someone to access your Medical ID from your lock screen, do the following:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone

  2. Scroll down the menu options until you find Health and tap on it

  3. Look under the Medical Details section and tap on Medical ID

  4. Tap the Edit option that is in the top-right corner

  5. Toggle on the  “Show When Locked” option under “Emergency Access” so that it is green;

  6. Repeat the steps in the section above and you should now see the option to open Medical ID from the lock screen.

Why Set Up Medical ID?

Earlier, we talked about why setting up Medical ID could be the factor that makes a difference in a life or death situation. This is because first responders often need your critical medical information. If you are unconscious or otherwise incapacitated, they may not be able to get this information from you. If you were completely alone, they may not know how to get a hold of your emergency contacts.

Here is a list of reasons why it’s helpful and potentially life-saving reasons why you should set up your Medical ID:

  • Allows first responders to access critical information about your health

  • Allows your iPhone to share your Medical ID information when calling or texting with emergency response services

  • Enables the Emergency SOS feature (when enabled) to send a message to your emergency contacts. The message will state that you have called emergency services and provides your current location.

  • Allows you to register for organ donation

  • Can be set up in English even if your iPhone is set to a different language (in case of international travel)

  • Can also be accessed from your Apple watch if you have one

How to Set Up Medical ID on Your iPhone

Emergencies can happen at any time, so the sooner you set up your Medical ID, the better. It’s a great way to plan for emergencies in advance, and cover your bases in case you ever find yourself in an emergency. The information on your Medical ID will speak on your behalf in case you are ever incapacitated and are unable to communicate your medical information to responders.

Here are the simple steps to setting up Medical ID on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Health app on your iPhone. It has a white background with a red heart on it, and should already be on your phone as a default feature. Be sure to update the app to get the latest version.

  2. Tap on your profile picture in the upper-right corner and tap on the Medical ID menu item near the top.

  3. From here, you can enter your medical information to update your Medical ID. To do so, click on “edit.” Here, you will see all the possible options that can show up on your Medical ID. Fill out as much information as you can.

  4. Next, select your emergency contacts. Click on the “add emergency contact,” which will take you to your phone’s contacts. Simply add the contacts you have in mind.

  5. Under emergency access, switch on the menu options “Show When Locked” and “Share During Emergency Call.” The first option makes it so that Medical ID can be accessed from your lock screen. The second option enables your phone to share your Medical ID data when you’re on the phone with emergency services. 

  6. Last but not least, be sure to set a reminder on your phone to update your Medical ID every 6 to 12 months.

Update Your Medical Information In Your Estate Plan

Our personal technology devices have become so sophisticated that they might even save our lives. In the case of an emergency, first responders know to look for your Medical ID on your iPhone or your Apple Watch. (Not an Apple user? Find out if your system provides similar features.) Your phone could provide critical medical information on our behalf in times that you may not be able to. To add this tool to your arsenal, make sure that Medical ID is set up on your iPhone. 

While you’re on the task of planning ahead for possible emergencies and medical situations, have you thought about how your loved ones would know about your potential end-of-life wishes? It’s not the most fun thing to think about, but it’s important. In the case you experience a life-threatening emergency, it is very helpful if your loved ones know about what life-sustaining treatments you would want or refuse. It relieves the burden of having to make difficult decisions during a stressful life. 

A great way to do this is setting up an Advance Health Care Directive through Trust & Will. At an affordable price, our package includes a Living Will, a Power of Attorney, a Last Will & Testament, and HIPAA Authorization. That way, you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones and first responders have all the information they need, and know exactly what you would want. We’re here to help if you have any questions or are ready to get started!

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