New Indian Law requires all iPhones to feature ‘panic button’ from 2017

A new motion has been signed into law by India government that will require all smartphones, including iPhones, to feature a ‘panic button’ and GPS location pings from January 2017. This ‘Panic Button’, when used, will allow the users to notify emergency services when they are in trouble.

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India Express notes that the requirement of a ‘panic button’ in all smartphones is a step towards providing better ‘security for women’. Most of the smartphones including iPhones have GPS feature, however, Apple will have to make necessary adjustments to its mobile OS to handle panic button requests.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, hopes that this move will provide more security to the users, women in particular. Any mobile phone that fails to comply with the required ‘panic button’ should not be sold in India starting from January 2017.

The document recommends smartphone manufacturers to either add a physical button dedicated to emergency response or repurpose the power button with an additional gesture to trigger a call for help. Given the fact how much Apple care about the look and feel of its products, it seems highly unlikely of Apple to add a dedicated button for one country, however, the latter software-based method will likely be used to comply with the law.

The document dictates that smartphones need to add a physical button dedicated to emergency response or repurpose the power button with an additional gesture to initiate a call for help. It seems unlikely that Apple will adorn its sleek iPhones with a special button just for one country, so compliance will likely come via the latter software-based method.

It is stated that the panic button must be accessible without the use of the touchscreen in order to enable users to use this feature without having to look at the device. Today’s smartphones, including iPhone, allow users to dial emergency numbers right from the lock screen, but that’s way less useful than what India has brought as a requirement.

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