I live alone. I very rarely have episodes, but I lose center of gravity, get double vision, fall, and have trouble talking. The last thing I want is anyone to dial 911. I just need to wait it out, relax, and take Ativan.

I've got medical friends listed on my Emergency Services that will come to my aid. Based on experience I do not want any EMTs involved and then a trip to the ER.

How can I hold the power button, have people I registered come, but not EMTs?

Today Siri saved me and made the call, double vision means no address book...

How can I hold power button to inform friends I need help without involving EMTs?

  • This is not an answer because I don't have any experience with trying to set up an iPhone this way, but one option might be to have a phone with no SIM card/cellular service, if it can be configured to message your emergency contacts via other means. There is also probably a solution involving jailbreaking your phone, albeit with all the negative aspects that entails. Jul 11, 2023 at 15:59
  • Out of the scope of the answer as is - Jul 12, 2023 at 8:18
  • What is Ativan?
    – Clockwork
    Jul 12, 2023 at 12:52
  • 1
    @Clockwork: A brand name for lorazepam.
    – V2Blast
    Jul 12, 2023 at 16:06

1 Answer 1


In short, you can’t reconfigure SOS to not contact your local emergency services. This is by design and hard coded into your phone.

However, you can set up an Accessibility shortcut triggered by either a double or triple tap of the back of the phone. This will trigger an action like sending out a text message to a group of people that you need assistance.

You can find the “Back Tap” under Settings → Accessibility → Touch → Back Tap

You will find a number of actions under Double and Triple Tap. However, you’ll need to create a simple shortcut for this:

  1. Create a new shortuct
  2. Select “Get Current Location”. Be certain to allow the app to use your precise location
  3. Select “Send a Message” Action. Enter your text and add the “Current Location” variable.
  4. Type a short canned message: “I’ve crashed into the sofa, send beer!”
  5. Enter your receipients
  6. Save and attach to Accessibility Shortcut (see above)

Send Help Shortcut w/ Location

It’s a simple two action shortcut - it doesn’t need to be overly complex, but you can customize as necessary. The beauty with a Shortcut like this is not only can you “attach” it to an action like double/triple tap, but you can use Siri to activiate it as well.

  • 8
    Great idea, however I found it relatively easy to accidentally activate the back tap shortcut. You may want to show a timed "cancel" button or some other kind of timeout-positive confirmation (if possible), othervise you may randomly alert your relatives whenever you drop your phone or accidentally tap your pocket.
    – Neinstein
    Jul 11, 2023 at 13:29
  • 5
    @Neinstein "I found it relatively easy to accidentally activate the back tap shortcut" - You'll be getting a lot of beer. Jul 12, 2023 at 16:56
  • 2
    @VanitySlug-codidact.com either that or turning into the boy who cried wolf Jul 12, 2023 at 22:57

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