Smartphones are often criticised for making our lives more dangerous. As we bury our heads in that YouTube video or gripping WhatsApp thread, we lose awareness of our surroundings. We become vulnerable to hazards, thieves, and unsavoury characters.
Mobile phones draw motorists’ eyes off the road, causing thousands of accidents each year in Britain. They allow pedestrians to insulate themselves in headphones, oblivious to dangers from the road and passersby. They also attract the attention of thieves, so aren’t squeamish about using violence to snatch them.
We can’t always avoid the walk home after dark, the ride in the near-empty train carriage, or conspicuously carrying our phone to guide us. But your mobile phone—that shiny screen that’s often so distracting—can help you safely navigate these situations. It can notify our friends and loved ones of our whereabouts, alert police and emergency services, and help us document and report crime.
“Our mobile phones can be a real lifeline when we feel unsafe or are the victim of crime,” said Lauren, from phone recycling experts . “Even the most basic mobile phone makes it easy to summon help, wherever we are, but smartphones can be loaded with apps that provide a more sophisticated personal safety system.”
Below we run down the best Apps For Personal Safety wherever you have phone service:
bSafe allows you to create a “social safety network” of guardians who can track your location via GPS and by notified in the event of emergencies.
bSafe has an SOS button, which can be activated by both touch and voice. Once triggered, the system sends an alert to your designated guardians, with your location. It also turns on live-streaming, giving your contacts an eye into what’s happening to you. This audio and video will also be recorded and sent to both your and your guardians’ devices. These recordings can provide invaluable information to the police if you’re the victim of a crime.
Additionally, you can also opt for the SOS function to set off a loud alarm on your end, potentially frightening away attackers.
With bSafe, when you set out on a journey, you can set a timer that will automatically alert friends if you don’t arrive at your destination in time. Additionally, the timer can initiate a fake call to your phone that can help you get out of threatening or unpleasant situations.
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: free for basic
Watch Over Me
Walking home alone? This app can act as your buddy system. Tell Watch Over Me how long you expect your journey to take and it will track your location in real time until you tap the “I’m Safe” button. If you fail to register your safety before the timer runs out, your designed contacts will receive alert, along with your GPS location.
Watch Over Me can also help you summon help if you’re in an emergency situation, or just one that makes you feel unsafe. If you’re not able to discretely call someone for assistance, or even push a button, you can activate the emergency notification system by simply shaking your phone. Even if your phone is locked, a single shake can turn on your phone’s alarm and video camera, recording your surroundings.
Watch Over Me also collects official crime data and user reports to create a map of high crime areas and to alert you via mobile notification when you enter one.
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free for basic features
Marketed to employers with lone workers in the field, the SafeStay app can also be used as a personal safety device. It offers a GPS tracker, a timer, and an emergency alert feature.
Set the timer when you set off on a journey or task—whether you’re an estate agent showing a property to a client or a jogger headed out for a run—and if you don’t return to deactivate it, an alert will be sent to your contacts.
Additionally, contacts or employers can also require you check in via the app at designated intervals. If you fail to do so, an alert will be sounded. Moreover, if the app detects your phone haven’t moved in 10 minutes, it will notify your contacts, telling them you may be injured, unconscious, or separated from your device.
And you don’t have to worry about your protection failing when your smartphone runs out of battery. When your phone’s charge falls below 5%, an alert will be sent to your contacts, notifying them that you’ll soon be out of contact.
Price: free trial
We hope you found this article on Apps For Personal Safety useful. If you feel we’ve missed any, please do let us know in the comments below.