Welcome to TNW Basics, a accumulating of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff.

As people around the world participate in protests and demonstrations the world over in abutment of Black Lives Matter and to honor the late George Floyd, some are active into attrition from law enforcement. Should you be arrested while participating, here’s how you can make sure your iPhone can’t be apart after a pin code.

My aide Georgina Ustik recommends not bringing your phone at all, or bringing a cheap burner phone with tracking disabled, so if your phone is lost or stolen it won’t hurt you too much. An iPhone is an big-ticket piece of equipment, so my first advocacy to all of you going out to participate in the protests is to leave it at home.

That said, if you do take your iPhone with you to protests, beware that the biometrics — FaceID and TouchID — that make life so easy for you can absolutely be used adjoin you. You can refuse to give a password, but it’s much easier to simply hold your phone up to your face and let the FaceID do the work for the officers.

Sure, you could make the case that police can’t accurately force you to use your finger or face to unlock your phones, as it could be advised a abuse of your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. But allow me in at least cogent you how to anticipate that, in the totally, wildly doubtful book that the police breach your rights should you, say, be arrested at a protest.

How do you do it?

The iPhone’s Emergency SOS feature, which can be accessed by captivation down the wake button and one of the volume buttons, allows you to apace acquaintance emergency casework and send a bulletin to your emergency contacts. However, it also disables biometrics, acceptation you’ll need to enter a countersign or a passcode to unlock it. Note: if you have an iPhone older than an 8, you’ll have to tap the wake button five times rather than hold any buttons.


Once you’ve held down both buttons for a few seconds, you’ll see sliders giving you the options to shut your phone off, phone emergency casework and to open your medical ID. You don’t need to absolutely swipe any of these. You can press the cancel button, and it’ll still attenuate your biometrics.

You’ll also want to make sure you have “Auto Call” disabled. If this is enabled, acute the buttons will mean your phone automatically calls emergency account rather than show you the above options. You can find this toggle under your Emergency SOS menu in the Settings app.


Hopefully this will help you assure your device should you be bedfast by law enforcement. Good luck!

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