Smartphone app technology has come a long way. Just a few years ago, some of the apps today would’ve sounded like something from science fiction. These days, there are apps that can control your car’s locking system from far away, help you see in the dark, or even detect metal.

Most well-known organizations, whether they be media outlets, retailers, charities, or anything else, have their own designated smartphone app. From 7-Eleven to William Hill to Oxfam – there are companies from all sectors that have embraced the app revolution.

The above-mentioned apps are certainly beneficial and useful to the target market of said companies, but there are other software programs designed for smartphones that can actually save your life. Most people are familiar with the numerous health and fitness tracking software, but there are also apps that can help you if you find yourself alone in the dark or the wilderness, or if you’re struggling with your mental wellbeing.

Safety in the dark

Walking home alone in the dark can be unsettling, but thanks to bSafe, it can be a much more relaxing experience. The app, which can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices, is basically a personal tracker. You can choose to send location alerts to some of your contacts so they can trace where you are in real time. It also allows you to set a timer that’ll trigger a distress call to these contacts if you haven’t reached your destination within a specified time.

SafeTrek is a similar app that also aims to keep you safe when you’re alone. Any time you feel you could be in danger, pull up the app and hold down the button on it until your situation improves. If you lift your finger off the button, the app will ask you to enter a PIN code within 10 seconds. It will call for help if this action is not carried out.

Safety in the wilderness

For those who enjoy hiking, especially alone, Cairn is a good app to keep you safe. Free to download on iOS and Android, Cairn shares your scheduled path with some of your chosen contacts. The app uses an algorithm based on your walking speed and elevation changes to calculate your estimated times of arrival. You can also download maps offline, access statistics for your route, record your hiking trail, and find spots with mobile coverage while you’re off-grid.

Another exceptional app for those who enjoy the great outdoors is SAS Survival Guide. Available for both iPhone and Android, the app comes with a sun compass, Morse code device, and more. The app also provides detailed information on basic survival methods such as building a fire and finding food and shelter. It also has a section to guide you through any unforeseen crisis, such as a car accident, natural disaster, plane crash, or even a nuclear blast.

Safety in your mind

Good mental health is essential for overall physical wellbeing and so should never be neglected. Unfortunately, many people struggle with their mental health and might not know where to turn. The award-winning distrACT provides reputable information and links to people at risk of self-harm or suicide. The app, free to download on both Android and iOS, offers confidential and non-judgmental support and access to helplines. It also features a Chill Zone, whereby users can distract themselves with books, poetry, inspirational quotes, uplifting music, and more.  

MY3 is another mental health app that can help save lives. Users can customize their own personal safety plan by recording their warning signs and noting their coping strategies. At the touch of a button, that app can put you in touch with trusted contacts or a trained professional at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or set up an emergency services alert.


Whether you’re walking home alone on a dark night, you’re hiking in the wilderness, or you’re struggling mentally, these smartphone apps can save your life.