SOS shortcut provides easy-to-use safety tools for iPhone users

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Kevin Boroumand, an entrepreneur, automation expert, and TikToker, has created a free, downloadable shortcut for iOS that will help to get you out of trouble if you find yourself in an unsafe or potentially dangerous situation. Below, we look into the details of “DoorDash Express.”

In the now viral TikTok, Boroumand explains in detail how this tool will help you to “feel safer on that next first date,” or, feel safer “…when you’re walking in the city in the middle of the night, especially walking by a bunch of sketch people. I truly believe I have built the best safety tool for iPhone.” 

The idea is simple: using a shortcut disguised as DoorDash so as to not agitate an aggressor or heighten an unsafe situation, users can order an Uber to their exact location, alert pre-selected contacts to let them know that they need help, and even notify the police if necessary.

How it works

To download the DoorDash Express shortcut on your phone, you follow the link provided on the TikTok (a note here: you need to have the Shortcuts app installed first). One tap and the shortcut is set up, at which point you are taken directly to it and are prompted to fill in the following information:

  • Name
  • Description of your appearance (if the police are looking for you)
  • A pin
  • At least one trusted contact

From there, things get really interesting. 

When the shortcut is open, three words appear on the screen: pizza, tacos, and sushi, each with its accompanying emoji (this is fully customizable, which is an astute modification on Boroumand’s part). If you tap “pizza,” an automated text will send to your pre-selected contacts that says, “Hey the vibe where I am at is a little sketch, I just want you to know where I’m at,” along with your precise location (you can edit this text to say whatever you’d like).

Tap “tacos”, and –  assuming Uber is installed on your phone – the shortcut will order an Uber to your location; a thoughtful touch here is that your screen will say “checking for available Dashers” and then “thank you for your order” once your Uber has been located and locked in. For a situation that calls for police intervention, tap “sushi,” and a text will be sent to 911 with your location, alerting them that you are in danger; it will also send a duplicate text to your aforementioned contacts. Notably, text support for emergency call centers is still rolling out – there are limited locations where this will work, so it’s important to check yours to see if your local centers support text-to-911. Even if they don’t, though, the shortcut will still allow you to message your emergency contacts or get an Uber.

Additionally, impressively, there is a second menu called “complete your order” – on this screen, you can “add utensils” or “add water” to your “order.” When “add utensils” is tapped, your iPhone will automatically record audio, while hiding the fact that it is doing so by returning you to the home screen. If “add water” is chosen, your iPhone will go dark and begin recording video with the front-facing camera, so as to be less suspicious – notably, when the video recording has ended, it gets sent to your pre-determined contacts as an additional safety measure.

9to5Mac’s Take

What I love about the shortcut, first and foremost, is its discretion. On your Home Screen, it looks exactly like the DoorDash app. Furthermore, having the autonomy to change text and emoji so that they make sense to the user (i.e. making the taco emoji a car emoji) can’t be overlooked. If I ever found myself in a situation where I’d want an Uber sent to my exact location, I’m not sure that I would remember that “tacos” meant “Uber”, or that “pizza” meant that my contacts would be sent a text message letting them know that I needed help.

In yet another clever move by Boroumand, DoorDash Express being a shortcut – not an app – is an important distinction. Data that you enter into the shortcut stays on the platform, and you can see exactly what it is being used to do. When you’re using your location data in a way that is potentially comprising, it’s important to not rely on an external service (think: Noonlight) – with DoorDash Express, it’s using native iOS device capabilities. Not to mention, the fact that this is a shortcut and not an app makes for a truly customizable experience for each of its users.

Boroumand is currently working on a litany of updated capabilities to the shortcut, as it quickly gained popularity on TikTok, resulting in 40,000 downloads thus far. These updates include providing a list of icons and companies to choose from (not every country has Uber or DoorDash), allowing for users in countries outside of the US to plug in their own local authority emergency number, and, importantly, making it compatible for Android users. When asked what his impetus was for creating the shortcut, Boroumand explained:

I have a lot of female friends, and the level of thought that they put into their safety when they go out on a date or go out with their friends just isn’t something I have to deal with. I don’t have to fear for my safety. I don’t have to share my location with anyone when I go out. I’ve had friends in domestic violence situations, and this shortcut is all about fooling anyone who’s watching you, and I’m trying to make it even more foolproof with each update. I just want people to have a safe option if they find themselves in danger.

Throughout the course of my life, I have found myself in more than one scenario that I yearned to get out of, but I didn’t know how to without being conspicuous (luckily, nothing that required police intervention or any kind of assault), and when I saw the TikTok explaining DoorDash Express, I instantly wished that something like it had existed sooner. Not only for myself, but for women –or anyone– to get out of a situation as safely and covertly as possible. As one user pointed out in the TikTok comments to Boroumand, “You’ve just saved at least one life.”

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