Apple’s next mobile operating system, iOS 11, will include an option to lock down your iPhone and get a hotline to the police whenever you find yourself in jeopardy.
The new “Emergency SOS” feature, spotted by programmers with access to the iOS 11 beta, is launched by tapping the iPhone’s power button rapidly five times.
This temporarily disables TouchID, preventing would-be thieves or attackers from forcing a user’s fingerprint onto the iPhone’s Home button to unlock it.
It also brings up a shortcut to dial the emergency services on the lock screen. It does not automatically dial 999, but only requires a single swipe to do so.
If a user activates the Emergency SOS feature, a message will also be sent to their emergency contacts, with details of their current location.
The new feature will be available on newer iPhone models once iOS 11 is released to the public later this year, The Verge confirms.
It could be particularly useful for anyone thinking of buying the iPhone 8, as Apple’s new smartphone is widely rumoured to offer a facial recognition unlock method.
While this could offer greater convenience for users, it would also make it a lot easier for an unauthorised user to unlock the phone by simply holding it in front of the owner’s face.
Emergency SOS would allow the user to quickly disable the instant-unlock capabilities if they thought someone might try to forcibly bypass their iPhone’s security.
The iOS 11 operating system is expected to be released alongside the iPhone 8 in September.
First unveiled at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, it will bring a range of new software features including indoor maps, iMessage payments and looping Live Photos.
It will also introduce a new “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature , which silences notifications and turns off the iPhone screen when it detects a user is driving.