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These Apple Watch Features Could Save Your Life -- They Saved Mine

The Apple Watch has health and safety features that could rescue you and others from life-threatening situations.

Justin Eastzer Former Senior Video Producer
Prior to CNET, Justin_tech ran his own YouTube channel with a focus on the smart home and lighting, VR/AR, wearables and more. Diabetes tech became a new passion after his type 1 diagnosis in May 2021. If you enjoy terrible puns and emerging tech, then you'll enjoy his tech-ventures.
Expertise Five years of tech YouTube-ing and two years of experience with diabetes wearable tech, which is used daily to foster better relationships with technology. Credentials
  • Audience-building across multiple social networks, including over 5 million subscribers for America's Got Talent and a niche diabetes tech education and community building platform
Justin Eastzer
3 min read

The Apple Watch does much more than just make calls, receive texts and navigate you from point A to point B. Its onboard health and safety features can save you or others from scary situations -- I know this because I've experienced it firsthand.

Diabetes management

glucose alert showing high levels of glucose via apple watch

High glucose alert via the Dexcom continuous glucose monitor app. 

Justin Eastzer/CNET

I have Type 1 diabetes, and I wear a continuous glucose monitor that measures my blood sugar levels. If my blood sugar gets dangerously low, I can pass out or go into a diabetic coma. Luckily, my glucose monitor connects to my Apple Watch and sends notifications before it's too late. This feature saved my life a few months ago.

I woke up to a dangerously low blood sugar warning on my Apple Watch. I ran to the fridge, grabbed some orange juice, drank it and then passed out. I woke up a few minutes later because my sugar levels went back to normal. That was one of the scariest moments of my life, and thanks to my Apple Watch alerts, I was able to address the low blood sugar before it was too late.

In addition to blood sugar warnings, the Apple Watch can help keep people safe in other ways, too. Here are a few other life-saving features to take advantage of:

Fall detection

The Apple Watch can detect if you've endured a bad fall. The wearable combines two tools: an accelerometer, which detects velocity, and a gyroscope, which detects the Earth's gravity. Together, the two can alert the watch of a bad fall and activate a warning on the watch face asking if you want to call emergency services. 

If the watch detects you're moving, it waits for you to respond to the alert and won't automatically call for help. If it detects you haven't moved for about a minute, it will make the call automatically. It will also send a message to your emergency contacts with your location, letting them know your watch detected a hard fall and called for emergency services. Emergency contacts are retrieved from Medical ID, which is programmed on the iPhone.

Medical ID

Medical ID on Apple Watch.

Medical ID on Apple Watch. 

Richard Peterson/CNET

Medical ID can come in handy in situations where you are around strangers and incoherent and in need of help or the other way around.

It displays information such as a name, date of birth, health conditions, medications and emergency contacts.

Anyone can access this information on the Apple Watch by holding down the button until it pops up on the watch face. Slide the tab over and you will have access to Medical ID information and can call the emergency contact right from that screen. Medical ID can also be opened on an iPhone by holding down on the power button and up volume button at the same time.

Programming Medical ID is easy. On an iPhone go to Settings > Health > Medical ID. 

Emergency SOS

Emergency SOS activation screen on Apple Watch.

Emergency SOS activation screen on Apple Watch.

Richard Peterson/CNET

Emergency SOS is a powerful feature that could rescue you from a scary situation. This feature allows you to quickly and easily call for emergency services if you are in danger.

There are a couple ways to activate this on Apple Watch. You can activate it the same way as Medical ID by holding the button and swiping over on "Emergency SOS" or you can continue to hold the button longer and it will automatically activate. Once activated, the watch will count down from five and let out a loud siren sound effect. You can cancel the request by letting go of the button before the countdown ends.

To activate Emergency SOS on the iPhone, hold down the power button and up volume button at the same time and swipe over or hold down the buttons longer and it will count down from 8 and begin to let out a siren. Alternatively, you can set up Emergency SOS to activate by pressing the power button five times quickly. These activation settings can be programmed in Settings > Emergency SOS.

Meditation with Apple Fitness Plus


Meditations are located in the Mindfulness app and require an Apple Fitness Plus account.

Richard Peterson/CNET

Mental health is another important aspect of our health and the Apple Watch seeks to help free our minds with guided meditations included in their Apple Fitness Plus program. 

Meditation has a plethora of health benefits, including the possibility to reduce the risk of being hospitalized for coronary disease by 87%.

With an Apple Fitness Plus account, you can access a list of guided meditations on the Apple Watch from the pre-installed Meditations app. Meditations last anywhere from five to 20 minutes. An Apple Fitness Plus membership costs $10 per month or $80 per year.