Is Your iPhone Ready In Case of Emergency?

Back in the mid-2000s when we were all using flip phones and Blackberries, a British paramedic conceived of a universal emergency contact system for all cellphones.

It was genius in its simplicity: enter an emergency contact in your cell phone’s address book under the name ICE. First responders would know who to contact In Case of Emergency (ICE) should you be injured or incapacitated.

The idea spread quickly across Europe, Australia and eventually North America.

As smart phones have replaced those “dumber” phones, the new phones have extra security that can prevent an emergency responder from finding your ICE contact. With the iPhone in particular, the additional security feature is the 4-digit passcode or fingerprint depending on your model.

I had completely forgotten what a good idea this is for everyone until a client recently asked me about entering an ICE contact in her iPhone. The dilemma was how to make your emergency contact available when you use passcode or fingerprint security for your iPhone.

I can think of three ways to have an accessible ICE contact on your iPhone.

1) Download one of the many In Case of Emergency apps from iTunes.

  • Pros: This is a good option if you want to include medical conditions, allergies and medications along with your emergency contact info.
  • Cons: Most of these apps are a dollar or two for the capability of providing access when your phone is passcode or fingerprint locked.

2) Make a simple sticker and attach it to the back of your phone. Be sure to label it with ICE in large letters and include your emergency contact’s name and number. You could also list any conditions, allergies, etc. here.

  • Pros: No technology required!
  • Cons: Needs to be on the back of your case to be seen and will eventually wear off.

3) Add your ICE contact as text along the bottom of a favorite photo that will be your Lock screen wallpaper. This can be done very easily with a free app called Phonto and a picture saved in your iPhone.

  • Pros: It’s free and you can still use your own personalized wallpaper.
  • Cons: It’s not the best choice if you need to list extra medical information.

Whichever option appeals to you, be proactive and set up an In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact on your iPhone today.

I just did and chose to add text to the bottom of a photo that I use as my Lock screen wallpaper.

To add text to a photo on your iPhone/Pad

  • Touch  and Search in bottom.
  • Touch Phonto in the search bar and install the app with this symbol: 
  • Before opening Phonto, exit the App Store and touch Settings > Privacy > Photos.
  • Touch Phonto to ON (green)
  • Press the Home button.
  • Touch .
  • Touch the Camera.
  • Touch Photo Albums.
  • Touch the picture you want to use.
  • Touch Done.
  • Tap the image to add text.
  • Touch Add Text.
  • Type ICE your contact name & phone number.
  • Touch Font to change the font and Done when you are finished.
  • On the next screen, you can change the text, size, font, color and move your phrase.
  • When you are finished, touch  and Save Image.
  • Touch OK.
  • Press the Home button.

To set this image as your Lock screen

  • Touch Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness.
  • Touch Choose a New Wallpaper.
  • Find the photo in your Camera Roll with the added text.
  • You can move and adjust the size of the photo with your fingers.
  • Touch Set when you are satisfied. (If the text doesn’t look right, touch Cancel and go back to Phonto to edit the text and resave.)
  • Touch Set Lock Screen.
  • To test how it will look, press the Sleep/Wake button on the top right of your iPhone/iPad and then the Home button.

*** If part of your image is cut off on the sides, this may help:

  • Touch Settings > General > Accessibility.
  • Touch Reduce Motion.
  • Touch Reduce Motion ON (Green).
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