Google’s personal safety features in Android have expanded in the past year to include a potentially lifesaving feature that can relay critical medical data to first responders when a user dials 911.
The technology works by sending important emergency information about the caller entered in the Personal Safety app (available on select devices, including recent Google Pixel devices, Nothing Phone 1, and several others), like age, weight, blood type, allergies, and more, to a platform called RapidSOS. Over 15,000 911 and field responder agencies are tapped into RapidSOS, which has supported relaying Medical ID data from iPhones since 2020.
If you’re dialing 911 from your phone, there’s a chance you’re hurt or, for some other reason, unable to communicate your situation and your information. “This information is available to use before the dispatch and before the responders arrive,” Baltimore City Fire Department 911 director Tenea Reddick states in a press release. “It saves so much time because we already know what we’re responding to and what we need.”
Since 2018, both Android and iPhone devices could already send location data using the RapidSOS system. But on the Android side, only recent phones like Google Pixels and others with the Personal Safety app are able to send this data on your behalf (and, additionally, display it on the lock screen).
Opting into sharing emergency data can look different depending on your device. You can enable Emergency SOS by finding it in Settings > Safety & Emergency. From there, you’ll need to set up the Personal Safety app to enable the feature and take advantage of other ones. You’ll be able to designate more information, too, such as if you’re an organ donor and your emergency contact info.
Correction December 7th, 2023 6:20PM ET: A previous version of this article said all devices running Android 12 or higher have a new update to support RapidSOS communications based on the blog post from RapidSOS, which was incorrect. That post has been updated to note that the feature shipped earlier this year and is only available on devices that have the Personal Safety App available, according to Google.