• A Virginia woman was lured by a man seeking aid to search for his iPhone 
  • The man tried to attack her sexually when she grew suspicious
  • The woman managed to activate her iPhone's SOS feature during the struggle

The Apple iPhone SOS feature is not a high-end, hyped-up feature like 3D Face Recognition or AR, yet it is very important, as was discovered by a Virginia woman who was saved from sexual assault because the feature activated on time.

The unnamed woman was on a night out at the Oceanfront. A friendly stranger came up to her to ask for help in looking for his phone Sunday around 2 a.m. as she was about to board an Uber to go home. He lured her to the boardwalk on the pretense of finding the lost phone.

The woman then handed him her iPhone to use the FindMyiPhone app to trace his phone. He then began fidgeting with the device, but seemed unable to use it. At this point, she grew suspicious and tried to run away when he handed her iPhone back. He then attacked her coming from behind and tackling and grabbing her, covering her mouth.

“I’m trying to scream for help, [he] tackles me to the ground – is like shoving my face to the ground – and now, because I’ve been screaming, he’s holding my mouth even tighter trying to muffle any noise I’m making,” the woman told Fox8 Cleveland.

During the scuffle, she was able to trigger her iPhone's SOS feature without her attacker noticing it. The iPhone immediately dialed 911 and dispatch, which immediately sent the police to her location.

On seeing the headlights of the police car, the attacker tried to run away but was nabbed after a foot chase.

The iPhone SOS feature was introduced in iOS 10.2 in 2016. The feature is activated if a user taps on the power button five times or holds the power and volume button down at the same time. The fact that the police could listen in to her, and that it gave them clues to look for her exactly where she was saved precious time and helped thwart the attack.

“All the cards lined up for me, but I know that doesn’t always happen and people aren’t so lucky. And if there’s anything we can do to be proactive, we should do it,” the woman said, crediting the iPhone feature for saving her life. She also asked people not to be lax about enabling such emergency features on their phones.

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