When the Apple Watch undergoes a major software upgrade (otherwise known as WatchOS 3) this fall, it will incorporate this new safety feature: SOS.
How it works is simple: If a user is in a critical situation—say, they encounter a threatening individual while walking down the street late at night or get hurt at home and cannot reach their phone—they can contact help by pressing a button on the side of their watch. That will trigger emergency measures:
- It will contact local emergency services based on their current location. Thanks to its GPS-tracking device, the watch will determine which services will best assist you: If you're in the U.S., it will call 911; if you're international, it will determine the contact information accordingly.
- It will notify your emergency contacts as soon as the call is complete. Because Apple developers wanted this information to be as up-to-date and accurate as possible, you'll need to indicate who among your contacts should be notified in case of emergency after downloading the update.
- It will display all your medical information on the watch screen. Your age, allergies, existing medical conditions, and more will all appear directly on the screen — immediately answering any questions emergency medical technicians might have.
Though Apple does not have an exact WatchOS 3 release date yet (and, subsequently, no release date for SOS), users can expect it to debut sometime this fall.