Odds are, unless “The Big One” hits, any disaster affecting your family will leave you with some data service on your phone. With that in mind, I asked Julia Peterson of AndGeeks.com to write a guest post on some great survival apps out there for your phone.

Keep in mind, these ARE NOT replacements for hard copies of the same tools. It is highly likely that you could be without power, cell service, or both….but these might still come in handy.

What survival apps do you have on your phone? Any apps you’ve thought about getting but haven’t yet? Anything you wish they’d come up with?


Mobile Apps for Survival

Stay safe and prepared wherever you go with these smartphone apps


When you think of the essentials in your survival kit or bug-out bag, your smartphone probably isn’t high on the list; but there are a few apps that can really make a difference for your family’s disaster preparedness. Check out a few of our favorites, for both Android devices and iPhone.

U.S. Army Survival Guide (Android, iOS)

This app contains the full text of the U.S. Army Survival Manual—you’ll have a hard time finding more comprehensive information all in one place. The app covers basic territory like building fire and shelter, tying knots, finding food and water, and distinguishing between medicinal and poisonous plants; but it also delves into the psychology of survival, changes in strategy for different climate regions, and even survival tactics for nuclear, biological, or chemically-contaminated areas. (Cost: free)

Emergency Radio (iOS, similar apps available for Android)

One of the most important tools you can have in a serious emergency or disaster is access to a police scanner, so you can get instant updates from first-responders about hazards, evacuation orders, or sources of help in your area. The app provides access to police radio in most large cities, but check ahead to make sure your local emergency personnel are covered—and make sure that listening in on police bands is legal in your jurisdiction. (Cost: $0.99)

PEPID (Android, iOS)

If you face a more sophisticated medical emergency than just a snakebite or sprain, PEPID is a good resource if you’re going to be away from professional medical help for an extended period. It’s intended to be a resource for doctors, but it provides detailed drug and dosing information, as well as a symptom checker to help you diagnose unfamiliar conditions. Obviously, portioning out medication and treating diseases without professional medical advice is not a good idea in normal circumstances, but this app can be a life-saver in a real emergency. (Cost: free)

iSurvive Wilderness (iOS)

This app contains a more basic overview of what you can find in the Army Survival Guide, but the addition of full-color instructional images is a big help, particularly for areas like knot-tying, creating slings, starting fires, or building shelter. It’s more of a beginner’s app, so the information it provides might not be news to an accomplished outdoors person, and it’s pricier than the other options we’ve described, but it’s a solid primer. (Cost: $1.99)

First Aid (Android, iOS)

While the Army Survival Guide above has solid information on first aid, this app is worth downloading for the images and instructional video that attend each aspect of first aid that it covers—after all, reading about how to properly set a bone or stabilize an injury is good, but a visual demonstration is much more reassuring. (Cost: free)

Compass (Android, iOS)

This app uses GPS and your phone’s magnetometer to create an attractive, accurate simulation of a compass on your phone’s display. If you’ve lost your bearings in the wilderness or need to find yourself on a map, this app can be a lifesaver. Importantly, it doesn’t require an active data connection, so it works outside of cell range (which is where you’re likely to need it anyway). It’s a pretty basic, functional app, but the virtual compass comes in half a dozen different styles, which is pretty fun. The app developers warn that because it’s dependent on your phone’s magnetometer, certain phones may not give an accurate reading; we tested it on a Samsung Galaxy from T-Mobile without any trouble, but your mileage may vary, of course. (Cost: free)


Julia Peterson is a writer for AndGeeks.com, a popular website that provides up-to-date news, detailed commentary, and unbiased reviews on cell phones and related topics. Julia resides in Galveston, Texas in a cozy little house in the country with her husband, young son, and their Labrador retriever, Darby.

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