The 5 Best Self Defense Apps for Personal Safety When Walking Alone
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When you’re walking in a dimly lit area at night, so many thoughts race through your mind. You picture scenes reminiscent of a horror movie as you briskly walk to your destination—but what if your imagined worst-case scenario actually happens?

Luckily, your phone can save you from a dangerous situation with as little as a touch of a button. Feel at ease during your next night-time trek with these self-defense apps for personal safety.

1. bSafe

bSafe offers a simple solution to your safety concerns by allowing your family or friends to keep an eye on you. Upon opening the app, you’ll see a map marked with your location. Make sure to add connections to your safety network before using it—your chosen contacts will have to install bSafe on their devices to gain access to the map.

If you’re ever in a dangerous situation while walking alone, hit the big red SOS button on the app’s main menu bar. With the premium version, you can simply say a codeword to activate the SOS button. bSafe will immediately notify your connections and will start a live audio and video stream of what’s happening around you. Your family and friends can then call the police if they see that you’re in danger.

You can also turn bSafe into your own personal bodyguard. With the Follow Me function, bSafe will track you with GPS How to Use an Android Smartphone as a Tracking Device How to Use an Android Smartphone as a Tracking Device Need a GPS tracker? Use your Android device! Read More and show your guardians your current location. That way, they can ensure that you make it home safe.

In addition to all these features, you can also schedule a fake phone call to help you escape from a seedy situation. With the Timer function, you can determine how long bSafe will track you. If you don’t disable bSafe’s timer before it runs out, your guardians will receive an alert.

Download: bSafe for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

2. My Safetipin

Using data compiled from users, My Safetipin lets you know the safety rating of areas around the world. When entering a potentially dangerous location, you’ll receive an alert on your phone. Turn on the Stay With Me feature, and you can have your friends or family track your location to make sure nothing happens to you.

Since walking alone at night can often stir up anxiety, you can rate an area depending on how safe it feels. My Safetipin determines a location’s safety rating according to several factors such as diversity, public transportation, lighting, visibility, openness, security, your own feelings, crowding, and the presence of a sidewalk. Adding your own rating helps My Safetipin update locations with the most accurate safety score.

If you’re traveling to an unfamiliar area, check out its rating in the app. You can also use My Safetipin to determine the safest walking routes to avoid running into any threatening situations. Unfortunately, since this app relies on user data, some smaller cities and towns won’t have any collected data yet.

Download: Safetipin for Android | iOS (Free)

3. Life360

After adding circles of friends and family to Life360, you can view their real-time location on a map, and they can view yours. Your family will no longer have to pester you with “Did you make it there safely?” messages, as they’ll always have access to your location from their smartphone.

You can even opt to set favorite locations. This way, your circle members will receive alerts when you arrive at or leave these areas. If you don’t want your friends and family to have access to your location at every second, you can always choose to turn off your location sharing. Life360 also allows you to keep in touch with the members of your circle with in-app messaging.

The Driver Protect plan unlocks even more features, but they’re only necessary if you or a family member wants to keep track of your driving habits. It can sense car crashes, rapid acceleration, phone usage, hard braking, and speeding. You can even use the Driver Protect plan to keep up to date on any local crimes.

Download: Life360 for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

4. Noonlight

Noonlight (formerly SafeTrek) has the functionality to protect you at home or on-the-go. When you’re walking through a particularly sketchy area, open up Noonlight and hold down the blue button.

When you let go of the button, it’ll turn red. Noonlight will ask you to enter your PIN within ten seconds—failing to type in your PIN fast enough will trigger a call to the police. Noonlight dispatchers will then alert the police of your location, name, and your medical information (if you choose to add it).

To take full advantage of Noonlight’s features, use it at home to prevent burglaries. Trip the alarm using the app, or tell your Amazon Echo to alert Noonlight of an emergency. That’s not the only way to use Noonlight—connect the app to your smart home’s sensors to detect smoke or even carbon monoxide. You can even use Noonlight alongside wearables to sense medical emergencies.

Download: Noonlight for Android | iOS (Free trial, subscription required)

5. LifeLine Response

If you want all-around personal safety protection, LifeLine Response is a great option. Activate the app by holding your thumb on your phone until you reach your destination. When you arrive, simply enter your disarm code to disable the alarm. LifeLine Response will alert the authorities and your selected contacts if you don’t input the code in time.

In case you are in an actual emergency situation, LifeLine will sound a piercing alarm while you wait for the police to arrive. Even if an attacker breaks your phone, or if they make you disarm the app, you’ll still have help. LifeLine Response sends out police when your connection is lost during an alert. Plus, you can input a secret alarm code in case an attacker tries to make you disable the app.

For added convenience, connect LifeLine Response to your Apple Watch. Doing so helps you get the most out of your Apple Watch while providing you with peace of mind and protection.

Download: LifeLine Response for Android | iOS (Free trial, subscription required)

Self Defense and Peace of Mind in Your Pocket

You don’t have to carry a weapon or know martial arts in order to feel safe. All you need is a phone and a personal safety app. Installing one of these essential apps can save you from life-threatening situations by alerting the authorities and your close friends and family—what more do you need?

Physical safety is vital, but you shouldn’t neglect online safety either. Check out the most important habits to keep yourself safe online The 9 Most Important Habits for Staying Safe and Secure Online The 9 Most Important Habits for Staying Safe and Secure Online Read More .

Explore more about: Android Apps, GPS, iOS Apps, Personal Safety.

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  1. Anonymous
    July 11, 2015 at 11:40 am

    A perfect example of "When you're a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail". A smart phone app IS NOT the answer to every question and situation.

    These apps provide a false sense of security. They do absolutely nothing to defend anyone from an attacker. In fact, you may get attacked for the phone. As Wayne Earl says "situational awareness and training with a handgun or pepper spray" are of much more practical use than some software.

  2. Anonymous
    July 10, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    The worst thing one can possibly do when in an unsafe neighborhood is be fiddling with a phone or tablet. I live in Oakland in one of its worst neighborhoods. Preditors here watch for people distracted by their phones.

    Situational awareness, coupled with proper training with a handgun or pepper spray is what is needed here. Put your phone away.

  3. Anonymous
    July 10, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    In all cases, these apps do nothing about the threat if it ever comes.

    I say spend a little money on some training and carry a Glock. You don't need to be a self defense badass to protect yourself. You just need some training on awareness, how to handle your firearm, and how to execute the tool if you are going to be attacked.

    Is it a guarantee? Nothing is, but at least you have something on you that can make a difference, rather than an app that will tell your friends where to find the body.

  4. Anonymous
    July 10, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Hello, I have developed a free Android app called "I'm Not OK" which can be used in such cases to get help. Here's how it works:

    1. Configure the app by adding a phone number to be contacted in case of emergency and choosing the desired actions (calling and/or sending SMS including the location).

    2. Set an interval for the alarms and activate them.

    3. When the alarm rings, if you turn it off by tapping on the notification, then you’re OK and the next alarm is set, but if you don’t turn it off within 30 seconds, the app will automatically perform the configured actions.

    This app does not require an Internet connection to function. Also, if the user sets up a pin or pattern to unlock the device, the alarm can't be turned off without unlocking so that only the phone's owner can prevent the call for help.

    I hope you find this application interesting and meeting your safety needs.

    • Anonymous
      July 11, 2015 at 11:57 am

      An app that sounds great on paper but in practice does nothing useful. A solid hit with a rock will smash the phone and turn off the alarm permanently. You are assuming that the perp will be stupid enough not to dispose of the phone. Who is going to be turning an alarm every 30 seconds?!

      • Anonymous
        July 11, 2015 at 12:09 pm

        You do realize that this same issue applies to the other apps too. Also note that this is not the only scenario in which "I'm Not OK" can prove useful. The app can come in handy for any person with special needs whereby, if the person who takes care of them needs to leave them for a while, can setup the alarm. If anything happens to that person who can't reach his phone to get help (losing consciousness or getting stuck somewhere) the phone will be able to ask for help.

        • Anonymous
          July 11, 2015 at 1:49 pm

          "You do realize that this same issue applies to the other apps too."
          Yes. That's why I consider most smartphone apps an affectation.

          "note that this is not the only scenario in which “I’m Not OK” can prove useful"
          It may be a good a "I've fallen and I can't get up" app but in the context of the article, it's no more than a placebo.

          Since you did not specify how your app determines that a state of emergency exists, I really can't tell whether it is useful in the scenarios you posit. If your app works on the "dead man's switch" principle, it is a royal PITA to be pressing or tapping something every so often just to keep from the alarm being triggered. A large segment of your target audience, namely the elderly, might forget or might just say the hell with it, triggering false alarms.

        • Anonymous
          July 11, 2015 at 2:04 pm

          I don't think the situation is as complicated as you're making it sound like.

          In the elderly case, it's not that hard to teach an old person to temporarily deal with tapping a notification. As with anybody else, a person using an app to get help is probably familiar with using a smartphone.

          The major issues would be external to the ability of any app including but not limited to battery dying, phone crashing, or lack of cellular signal.