We all take for granted the fact that we carry a mobile phone wherever we go and can easily call someone if we need help or let someone know when we’re on our way home. But technology can go even further to help us feel safe when we’re out and about. Here are some helpful hints, all accessible within your smartphone.
Sharing your location
Both Android and iPhone allow you to share your location with others. The iPhone “Find My” app lets you select who can see your location and this can be turned on and off as required on a per contact basis. You can even set it to notify you when your friends leave a location or when they arrive at a particular location.
Android phones don’t have their own app but it is possible to share your location via the Google maps app. Again, you can decide who to share it with and for how long.
Many people don’t realise they can also use Whatsapp to share their location with selected contacts or a group. This is ideal for letting people know how far away you are if you’re on your way to meet them or if you’re on your way home and you want friends or colleagues to know you’ve reached your destination safely. You need to allow location permissions for Whatsapp in your phone settings first, then simply open an individual or group chat and tap on Attach>Location>Share live location. You can choose how long you want to share your location for and it will automatically stop at the end of that time.
If you use Strava for your outdoor activities, there are safety options available within the app which might be really useful. Strava Beacon allows you to share your real-time location with friends or family, sending them a text message when you start recording an activity. A subscription to Strava is required for this facility but it’s a great safety feature for those who run, walk or cycle alone. Another good option on Strava is in the Privacy tab in Settings which allows you to set a Privacy Zone. This means you can hide the location where you regularly run from, so your followers can’t see where you live. When your activities appear on the newsfeed, it will not show this portion of your run/walk/cycle.
If you have a genuine emergency, you can access an Emergency button on your iPhone to call the emergency services - instructions vary depending on iPhone version. Once the call has finished, your emergency contacts (which can be set up in Emergency SOS mode) will be sent a text message with your location. Samsung phones have a similar option which is accessed by pressing and holding the power button and choosing Emergency Mode.
Technology is a wonderful thing, so why not use the features available to stay safe.