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Apple Patents Secret 911 Function

911 and Apple

Apple iPhone Emergency Call patent has been filed, securing a discreet way of calling 911 from a smartphone using fingerprint technology.

Experts claim the function could save countless lives and improve the evidence needed to bring criminals to justice.

This latest technological advancement will allow the user to call 911 by using a different fingerprint than what is used to open the device.

According to USA Today, a sequence of touches or even a unique way of holding the handset can secretly activate a 911 call, which won’t light up the user’s screen and give them away.

Smartphones can already be used to contact emergency services without having to login. Within their patent, Apple points out that this system could be “readily apparent to someone watching” and “may not be practical.” If the new patent is put into practice by Apple, future iPhone users will have the ability to contact emergency services without detection by the perpetrator.

“A user could use her thumb to unlock the phone on a regular basis and set her index finger as the emergency indicator to call 911. If this user was ever in need of emergency services, she could place her index finger on the scanner and 911 would be alerted without it being apparent on the phone screen. A sequence of fingerprints can also be used to call 911,” USA Today writes.

Apple 911 Can Be Activated by Custom Code

Apple’s patent also outlines the further use of sequences to activate the function. By pinching or pressing hard on the screen or by predetermining a specific sequence only known to the phone’s owner, a 911 call will be triggered. The feature will then automatically send the user’s GPS location and play audio or video feeds directly to emergency services. The patent also includes a function for the deletion of sensitive information held within the phone.

A secret way of Apple iPhone Emergency Call to 911 illustration.

Apple has still not revealed what its plans are for the new technology, but experts claim they are also working on a similar concept that uses facial recognition. These innovations could be combined to create a superior 911 activation system.

According to, the biometric patent was granted to allow iPhone users a “panic command” that is designed to hide 911 activation from the attacker. Experts claim the function could save countless lives and improve the evidence needed to bring criminals to justice.

CNBC states that this component is an addition to already existing products like the Apple SOS feature, which was recently added to Apple Watches to improve emergency calling. Accidental triggers are, of course, a possibility. One way of combatting this is by putting it through a pay-per-use system. Experts say this can be an extremely inexpensive option and can act as a deterrent to overuse of the function.

There can be no denying that Apple’s latest 911 call function is a positive and groundbreaking step that could help millions of people, not just in American, but around the world. It takes bold ideas like this to really hit home the importance of our safety and the ability for technology to save lives.

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