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Android phones will offer users safety and emergency options

Google Mobile Services — or GMS — is such an essential suite of apps for Android users, devices without it often have a hard time finding an audience. With Chrome, YouTube, Maps, and more all bundled together, some of today’s most vital apps are all included in one single package. To qualify for GMS, manufacturers have to meet a set of standard requirements. A new rule for Android 12 puts a focus on the “Safety & emergency” settings page on your phone, ensuring every Android user has a baseline level of protection against allergic reactions, earthquakes, and more.

As spotted by Mishaal Rahman on Twitter, medical information, emergency contacts, emergency SOS, location services, and earthquake and emergency alerts are all now required apps under GMS rules. Many of these features have been in Android for years, either directly implemented by Google or later on by device manufacturers, but it’s great to see them now considered mandatory for all mainstream phones and tablets.

If you’re still rocking Android 11, “emergency SOS” is likely the one option on this list that looks unfamiliar. This feature is new to Android 12 and can be found in the Personal Safety app on Pixel devices. One of the earliest features to show up during last year’s developer previews, SOS allows you to quickly tap the power button five times to call emergency services after a brief five-second wait.

Rahman notes that many of these — including earthquake alerts, wireless emergency alerts, and location services, are all built into Android’s settings menu via Play Services, though availability may depend on your region.

It’s not the only new GMS requirement for the most recent update to Android. Screen readers for any visually impaired user are now necessary components as well. TalkBack is likely the best-known of these services, easily included by pre-installing the Accessibility Suite app. Android Police

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