Set Up Medical ID for Emergency on Your iPhone

Jan 7, 2017 - 8 Comments

Health app icon The Health app on iPhone is primarily used to track fitness and activity, and likely much more once the Apple Watch and other sensors connect to the device, but another handy and lesser known feature is called Medical ID. Medical ID can be filled out on your iPhone to show important information about the iPhones owner, and it can be checked on another users iPhone too – assuming they placed appropriate details.

Medical ID can show an iPhone owners name, birthdate, medical conditions, medical notes, relatives and partners, emergency contact information, blood type, whether you’re an organ donor or not, weight, height, and other details you want to add as well.

How to Setup Medical ID on iPhone

Here’s how you can fill out appropriate information for Medical ID, the more details are provided the better:

  1. Open the Health app on the iPhone and tap the “Medical ID” button in the lower corner
  2. Medical ID portion of Health app

  3. Fill out details as desired – again, the more information you provide is probably the better, none of the info included is shared in Health data or to other applications, it’s only visible from the Medical ID panel (more on that in a moment)
  4. Fill out Medical ID on an iPhone

  5. When finished, tap “Done” in the corner to set the Medical ID data for the iPhone

show Medical ID on a lock screen of iPhone

Now that Medical ID has been filled out, let’s check it from the Lock Screen to make sure that you’re happy with what’s visible. This is also how you’d check the Medical ID of another iPhone owner, assuming they filled it out.

Checking Medical ID on an iPhone

So the next most important question is, how do you actually check the Medical ID on someones iPhone? It’s quite easy if they’ve filled it out, even if they’re using a passcode to lock the device in question – which all users should. Here’s how you can quickly view Medical ID:

  1. From the iPhone unlock screen, tap the “Emergency” button in the corner
  2. In the same corner at the next screen, tap on “Medical ID” to view the filled out medical information for the iPhone
  3. Flip the “Show When Locked” toggle to the ON position (optional but highly recommended, consider what’s the point if nobody can read it?)

Check Medical ID on an iPhone

Note that you can tap on the Phone icons next to contact names to actually call that person from that iPhone – this is allowed without entering the devices passcode, which is perfect for an emergency situation (and remember, Siri can make emergency calls with iPhone for you!)

One thing that is missing from Medical ID is a photo identification feature (beyond the avatar, at least). This would be a good feature to add because, in theory, if someone was passed out on the ground and had two iPhones with them, you’d want to be sure the data is for the proper user if you were to act on it. Nonetheless, it’s still likely valid, at least for contact information.

Filling out Medical ID is entirely optional, but it’s probably good practice to include at least some basic data, if not for the health reasons then perhaps for helping to return a lost iPhone (Siri is good at that too). Sure there will be some who are concerned about privacy, but for the most part this feature is probably not much different from the little bracelets that some people wear who have a specific health condition that is of note. Whether you use it is up to you, but for health reasons or for helping get a lost phone back to you, it could be very worthwhile.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks

8 Comments

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  1. Murray Whittington says:

    its so dumb you cannot add emergency contact person noway around it or even a copy and paste etc leave a blank emergency contacts apple think again!

    • Roy Pembroke says:

      Murray, enter your emergency contact under “Spouse”. It’s not the best idea but better than nothing. I agree; “Spouse” should read “Emergency Contact”. There should also be a notes panel which could be used, amongst other things, for nationality and passport number in case of emergency when abroad.

    • Jan-Lucas de Vos says:

      Under the Emergency Contacts the option at the very bottom of the list is “Emergency”.

  2. Summo29 says:

    re comment above…..and OSX giving false information in their daily update. Come on . Up your game.

  3. JTMF says:

    This has to be a reprint of very old information. A related article mentions Steve Jobs “taking a medical leave”. Hasn’t Mr. Jobs been dead for several years?

    • Matt says:

      Medical ID is an iPhone feature only available on modern iOS releases, update your iPhone if you don’t see the feature. It’s a new feature. As for SJ, Steve Jobs passed away years ago, it’s unlikely the feature has anything to do with him though it is rumored that Apple Watch health tracking was inspired partially by his experiences being ill.

  4. jeff says:

    thanks for making me aware of an overlooked feature.

    i don’t understand why this site and it’s good tips get so many d-bags commenting and slagging on them.

    it must just be feral 14 year olds or something.

  5. Suz says:

    Love this feature! I use med ID , life saver.
    Also staff are trained to help return phone when lost here in Local stor in UK
    Thanks Waitrose for calling my family when I lost my phone , the looked up emergency contact, so relieved, thanks for info. oxdaily

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