I'm looking for an app that would call emergency services.

It's practical, as I can press the button in my pocket in stealth mode.

To avoid false alarms, I need to then confirm with a voice, some "stealthy" keyword that can occur with day-to-day conversation so that an attacker (robbery, rape, etc.) is not aware the police are coming.

Does this kind of app exist already?

  • peoplesafe.co.uk/products/lone-worker-app This company will phone the emergency services on your behalf if you press the button and don't say the magic word
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 16:14
  • Now that's a valid suggestion + should be a proper answer IMO @Valorum - it clearly doesn't use the side button, but otherwise seems to fit all the requirements for this recommendation.
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 16:46
  • @bmike - It's not really an 'app' though. You subscribe to a real-world service and they provide you with a custom app that you need to authorise with a code
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 16:47
  • Their site says there's an iOS app where you tap the on screen button and they also sell a pocketable bluetooth button @Valorum which would also be a very stealthy addition to the service they provide.
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 16:48
  • 2
    For what it's worth, if you dislike the way built-in Emergency SOS on iPhone works you might want to consider an Android phone instead. There the built-in Emergency SOS can be triggered by simply pressing the power button five times
    – Ivo
    Commented Oct 24, 2023 at 8:22

4 Answers 4


I would expect Apple to reject an app that uses the volume button under section 2.5 unless it was amazing at using public API to accomplish the task of calling and providing data to emergency services in a way unlikely to be confused with Apple’s SOS call function.

When you make a call with SOS, your iPhone automatically calls the local emergency number and shares your location information with emergency services. After an emergency call ends, your iPhone alerts your emergency contacts with a text message, unless you choose to cancel. Your iPhone sends your current location, and for a period of time after you enter SOS mode, your emergency contacts receive updates when your location changes.

Since an app provider can’t simply repackage or sell a native feature, it’s unlikely the buttons would be allowed in the app at review time.

What is going to be interesting is people implementing shortcut actions to use the new hardware button on the 15 Pro hardware released in 2023 that replaces the mute switch. Using that hardware button in conjunction with a volume button might be fair game for a new safety app that would pass review or provide a smart action via shortcut for dialing a service if the phone was oriented in a pocket and the proximity sensor detected a face down situation.

  • 3
    You can even turn off any audible or visual feedback of calling the emergency service, thus facilitating OP's use-case of stealthily calling for help.
    – arne
    Commented Oct 24, 2023 at 9:57

There might be an app that does that, but with over 4 million + apps in the store, it's hard to know if an app like this exists.

Apple has their own built in way to contact emergency services and your own emergency contacts.



I heard about bSaf. It is like a personal safety app that allows you to set up a network of "Guardians" who can be alerted in case of an emergency. It includes features like live streaming, location sharing, and an SOS button. In fact, there is a lot of different software that includes the SOS function.

  • Right now this reads more like a product pitch than an answer. Can you more specifically explain how this app (assume it‘s in the App Store) can be used to solve the problem described in the question?
    – nohillside
    Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 14:03

You specifically called out the iPhone 15. The iPhone 15 has the new action button which can be assigned to a shortcut, and this means you can trigger a shortcut that does exactly what you are looking for.

You can find more examples on Reddit: Shortcuts.

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