Tips & more

How to call an emergency number if your iPhone’s display is broken

∙ Hold the side button and the top volume button. Keep holding until you hear a countdown sound.
∙ When the countdown ends, your iPhone will dial the phone number set as an emergency contact.

When you have an accident, your iPhone may also get hurt. The most common damage is a broken display. You won’t be able to see anything. Even if the display won’t be broken, it may become unresponsive.

Luckily, your iPhone comes with a feature that lets you dial 911 (or any other number set as emergency contact) by just pressing the buttons, so there is no need to use a display.

How to call an emergency number on an iPhone with a broken display

This feature is enabled by default, so all you need is remember how to activate it.

How to call emergency contact on iPhone
Hold the side button and top volume button to call emergency number without touching iPhone’s display

1. Press the side buttons and the top volume button. It’s the usual way to turn off the iPhone.

2. Keep holding the buttons. In a second or two, you will hear an emergency call alert – a very loud one, and very similar to the sound of an ambulance siren. 

3. Keep holding until you hear the sound of dialing the number. It will be the first number you have added to Emergency Contacts in your Health App (keep reading to see how to do it).

How to deactivate emergency SOS calling on an iPhone

As I said, an emergency call operated solely by holding the buttons comes as a default setting, so it may happen that you call 911 by accident.

You can easily disable this feature in the Settings, but I strongly recommend keeping it – because of the reasons mentioned above.

How to disable emergency 911 calling iPhone

To turn off emergency calls on your iPhone:

1. Go to the Settings app, find “Emergency SOS” on the list, and tap it.

2. Disable “Call with Hold” setting. Done.

How to change the emergency calling trigger on an iPhone

Instead of disabling the emergency calling feature completely, you can replace it with the one that will let you avoid accidental use.

How to change emergency calling trigger on iPhone

1. Go to the Settings app, find “Emergency SOS” on the list, and tap it.

2. Disable “Call with Hold” setting. Done.

3. Enable “Call with 5 Presses” setting.

From now on, you will be able to make emergency calls even if you can’t use the display, by quickly pressing the side button five times. Just the side button, there is no need to press the volume button in this method.

How to manage the list of emergency contacts on an iPhone

You can add more than one number to the list of emergency contacts. The methods described above will call the first number of the list.

How to add emergency contact on iPhone

1. Go to the Settings app, find the Health app on the list and tap it.

2. Tap the “Medical ID” section, and then the “Edit” button in the top right corner.

3. Scroll down to see the “Emergency Contacts” section and tap the green “+” button to add a new contact. To move down the contact that’s already there, remove it by tapping the red “-” button, and then add again after the contact you want to be the first.

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