Preparing for the Worst with an iPhone Medical ID


You don’t expect to be in an accident, but if you are, and if you end up in a state where you can’t speak with the emergency responders, did you know your iPhone could help? You just need to enter your medical data and emergency contact info into Apple’s Health app, then anyone can use your iPhone to learn about your medication allergies and other conditions, plus they will be able to contact your family. Even if you are too shaken up to share your details clearly, you may be able to point at your phone sufficiently to show your Medical ID. This data could also help a Good Samaritan return a lost iPhone (unfortunately, the Health app isn’t available on the iPad).

Follow these steps to enter this essential information.

  1. Open the Health app, and tap Medical ID in the button bar at the bottom.
  2. Tap Create Medical ID on the first screen that appears.
  3. In the Medical ID screen, make sure the Show When Locked switch is on.
  4. Enter all the relevant details about your medical conditions, medications, allergies, and so on.
  5. Specify your emergency contacts, you can specify more than one. These must be people that are already in the Contacts app with phone numbers; if the right people aren’t there, you’ll need to add them first. You can’t select your own card in Contacts, so consider making one for a fake person called “If Lost, Please Call” and listing a different phone number at which you can be reached.
  6. Tap Done once you’ve finished entering your information.

So how do you use or show the Medical ID information?

  1. With a locked iPhone, press the Home button to display the Passcode screen.
  2. On the Passcode screen, tap Emergency in the bottom-left to move to the Emergency screen. If needed, call 911 from this screen.
  3. Again at the bottom left, tap Medical ID to display the Medical ID screen, complete with all the details that person entered into the Health app.

From that screen, you can share the information with EMTs or other first responders so they’re aware of any serious conditions or allergies that would affect treatment. You can also call any emergency contacts listed.

You should also teach family, friends, and colleagues how to find and use this information. Should you come across a bicyclist who has had a bad crash or a similar situation, follow these steps:

Please, enter your medical and emergency contact details into the Health app right now, and spread the word to everyone you know. It could save your life, or help you save someone else’s!