What are location services for emergencies and how to activate them on your Android

There is an option on our phones that can save our lives: emergency location services. This automatic function allows security services to know where we are even without us having to manually send them the location. We explain what these services are and how to know if you have them activated.

Any mobile phone can make emergency calls just by having some coverage, regardless of the operator. These calls literally allow save the life of anyone in danger, but they also involve significant risks for the person making the call, especially because they can reveal that they are seeking help. Every second is vital. And instantly knowing where that person is can make the difference between getting out unscathed or ending up in the hospital. The phone takes care of minimizing risks.

Location services for emergencies, a real life saver

Emergency calls

Most mobiles can make emergency calls even if they do not have coverage of the operator they use (even if the phone does not have the SIM inserted). These calls can be made from the phone application: just dial the emergency number for each country (in Europe it is 112) for communication to be established; as long as there is a telephone tower within range of the telephone. An emergency operator will pick up the call and request information to assess the extent of the danger. Not only that: the mobile will automatically send the precise location if you have active emergency location services.

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The aforementioned services are of vital importance to save the maximum time in sending relief. Thanks to the fact that the mobile automatically sends the location, the emergency services almost instantly have the place where the danger is located; thus they manage to send help as quickly as possible. In addition, the location can be known even if there is a threat to coerce the caller; also if he does not know where he is or if verbal communication cannot take place.

The location is sent via SMS or HTTPS. For this, the AML protocol (Advanced Mobile Location or 'Advanced Mobile Location'), a communication protocol that does not require user intervention. Created in 2014, AML is a standard in emergency location services: it is present in Europe, the United States, Mexico, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.

Emergency calls Example of SMS with the location sent by coordinates. Image from

When the mobile detects that the user calls the emergency phone, it automatically activates the location services to send the precise data to the security services. This data is shared only with emergencies and only operators can discover the location of the call. These location services are not related to Google's activity log.

How to activate location services for emergencies on any Android

Emergency calls

The automatic sending of the location to the emergency services usually comes active with each smartphone. Even so, it is convenient to make sure since, although it seems that we will never be in a compromised situation, having them active can mean the difference between life and death.

To make sure that the mobile sends the location during emergency calls, the following process must be carried out:

  • Go to your Android settings.

  • Go to 'Location'.

  • Look for the 'Emergency Location Services' menu.

  • Activate the option 'Send ELS location'.

We must remember that this security option does not share the location with Google or with other companies: it is only sent to the emergency services and when calls of the same type are made.

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