New iPhone iOS 13.5 update could save your life — here's how

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Apple’s latest version of iOS 13 is making it easier to share your information with emergency services by automatically sharing your Medical ID when making an emergency call. 

Apple is rolling out iOS 13.5 over the next couple of weeks and it will let users set up their iPhones to share any information that’s saved within their Medical ID with the emergency services.

It will work when users dial 911 in an area that supports the use of Enhanced Emergency Data services, which provide a caller's location data to 911 dispatchers. A connected Apple Watch can also be configured to do the same. 

The data that gets shared will be anything an iPhone user wants to put into their Medical ID. As part of Apple’s native Health app, the Medical ID acts as a repository of information such as blood type and any existing medical conditions a user might have, as well as any medical and food allergies and emergency contacts. 

Other data such as height, weight, and medication that person is taking can also be added. And the privacy-conscious can rest easy as all this data is encrypted within modern iPhones, like the iPhone 11 Pro

Combined with the caller location data the Enhanced Emergency Data services, the sharing of Medical ID data with emergency services could provide rapid responders with everything they need to know about a patient before they get to their location. As such, this means paramedics, for example, will be better equipped to deliver emergency care when they arrive at the scene of an accident or casualty. 

One smart part of this new feature is it’ll work in conjunction with the Apple Watch Series 5’s fall detection capabilities, meaning when someone has a fall, 911 will be automatically called and the Medical ID data will be shared as well. This could potentially give responders the information they need even if a victim isn’t able to speak.

This paves the way for Apple to add more health-related capabilities into the upcoming Apple Watch 6. We have already heard rumours that the Apple Watch 6 will no only have enhanced health-tracking features, but also a pulse oximeter and the ability to detect abnormalities in mental health

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.