That feature is the Emergency SOS function, which could really help you out when you’re in a dangerous situation. It serves two purposes, first as a proverbial flare gun, sending an instant message to local authorities if you’re in a dangerous situation.
The second purpose is to lock your TouchID so that a potential assailant can’t literally force your hand it opening your phone. This is very essential considering the fact that almost all the latest devices will be using or opting for the face unlock feature.
The setup process is pretty straightforward: go to your iPhone’s settings icon, and then trace down to “Emergency SOS.” Once you’re in the Emergency SOS section, it will provide you with options for how you want to use the function.
If you want to be able to quickly and automatically contact 911, switch on the AutoCall function. There’s also a section to fill in Emergency contact information. This can come in handy if you’re in an accident and the hospital needs to give or take pertinent information to your friends or family.
There’s also the option to turn on the Countdown Sound on the Emergency SOS function, which helps users from accidentally activating the function. When the Emergency SOS is toggled, it will blare out three very loud alarms, counting down the three seconds before the 911 is dialed.
And as far as the TouchID shutoff feature goes, it will be automatically activated when you slide the Emergency SOS function into gear. Even if you cancel the 911 call before it completes, your phone will only be able to be opened via passcode.
Although ideally, you won’t ever have to use it, these are trying times, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.