“I don’t know how I would survive without my iPhone.”
You've probably thought this to yourself every once in a while - when your trusty iPhone 5s helps you find a restaurant in an unfamiliar part of town, or keeps you entertained during a two-hour train ride, or allows you to discreetly look up the big game score during an important meeting. But for some people, this isn't benign sentiment; it's actually quite literal.
From physical defence against suicide bombs to quick tutorials on the Heimlich maneuver, here are some ways the iPhone has saved lives - and some apps that could do the same for you one day.
iPhones saving lives in warfare
In May 2012, 22-year-old Joel Stubleski from Alaska found himself in a firefight in Eastern Afghanistan and was shot in the upper thigh. It wasn't until he was airlifted by helicopters and medics cut off his trousers that they discovered his iPhone still in his pocket with a bullet hole through it.
"The medics came up to me and they were like, 'This is the coolest thing I've ever seen,'" he told KTVA in Anchorage.
Although he was still badly injured, doctors told Stubleski that the iPhone probably changed the trajectory of the bullet, preventing it from going deeper into his leg and hitting his femoral artery, which could have killed him.
Stubleski now uses a photo of his old phone as the cover for his new one.
"Some people are saying it's bad luck," he said. "But it helped me out, so I think it’s good luck."
A similar situation recently happened to Staff Sergeant Shaun Frank in Afghanistan. Ball bearings detonated by a suicide bomber struck the iPhone in the soldier's pocket, KSL reported.
Staff Sgt. Frank survived the blast from just feet away, partially due to the fact that his iPhone stopped some of the shrapnel from piercing his body.
The phone was destroyed in the explosion. Apple said the company would replace it, but they would need to retain the destroyed phone. Sgt. Frank chose to keep the phone as a memento of his incredible luck, leaving him without a working phone in Afghanistan for months. But after the story got around, Apple agreed to give the soldier a new iPhone and let him keep the damaged device
"It's the same phone he had previously, minus a hole or two," Frank's sister Alisha Lantz joked.
Apple's life-saving patent
Via Patently Apple
On 6 March 2014 the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published an Apple application for new technology that would allow an iPhone to automatically detect when a user is in a dangerous situation and contact first-responders.
The 'Mobile Emergency Attack and Failsafe Detection' uses an iPhone 'emergency-mode processor' to detect when a user is in physical danger and automatically communicate with pre-programmed life-saving services.
The sensors respond to a variety of variables including contact detection (such as suddenly being separated from the device while using it), a user's lack of movement over a certain time period, abnormal sounds picked up through the microphone, dropping the iPhone, or yanking out headphones. Part of the application even describes a "dead man's switch", which, when activated, sets off an emergency response when the user lifts their finger off a designated button.
When any of the above actions activate emergency mode, the phone gives the user a warning along with a chance to disarm the emergency system before it begins to dial a list of emergency contacts, play auto-recorded messages, and transmit GPS location data to emergency responders.
Until that proposal becomes reality, there are plenty of iPhone apps you can download to help save your life.
iPhone apps that can save your life
Pocket First Aid & CPR from the American Heart Association is a comprehensive guide on procedures for saving a person's life. The app lets you provide detailed medical profiles, contains up-to-date information from the American Heart Association, and has videos and tutorials on how to provide first aid (though it should not be substituted for registered CPR/First-Aid training).
Humans aren't the only ones who need saving, so they have a pet version of the app as well.
Glucose Buddy helps diabetics remember to take their blood sugar by giving constant reminders via push notifications. The app also tracks your blood sugar levels, carb intake, medicine, A1C levels, and more. Glucose buddy can also link your logs straight through your computer and integrate with the CalorieTrack app for faster food and exercise logging.
For non-medical emergencies, Disaster Readiness has got you covered. The app is helpful for survival situations like wildfires, floods, thunderstorms, tornados, nuclear blasts and so on, with specific tips on what to do before, during and after the situation. The app works in offline mode as well so you can use it without internet access.