bSafe You is one of many personal safety apps available for Apple and Android users, but it had some updates this year. It ranked among the top safety apps, and not just from geeky-tech sites either. Elle listed it at the top of their apps for women’s safety, too. Even if fashion-girls aren’t always geek-girls, they still know what’s what when it comes to personal safety.
bSafe You is ultimately a network of friends, watching each others’ backs. When you download and get started, you’ll be asked to build your contact list. Add as many or as few as you’d like, but each person will be sent a text letting them know they’ve been added. The same message will include a link where they can either, 1) download and use bSafe along with you or 2) be added to your network without using the app.
You can also choose one person as your primary contact. This is the person who will be contacted in case of an emergency, via text and phone call. But the app isn’t just for emergencies. When you know your friends’ locations, you can quickly and easily meet up with them (but you can hide if you don’t want to share your location all the time). With the GPS tracking you have access to maps that will let you navigate to your destinations with ease. There’s even a high-powered flashlight. You know, for those times when you drop your keys on the ground or need to look under the bed for something.
SOS feature of bSafe is exactly what it sounds like. This is for real life emergencies and dangerous situations. When the app is open, bSafe forces the screen to stay on. If the alarm button is pressed, it will then trigger an alarm siren and begin video and voice recording while also sharing your location with friends.
I tested the siren in a totally safe, sitting on my couch situation. It is super-loud, which I don’t like. The sudden, abrasively obnoxious sound could scare off aggressors, but it could also aggravate them and in turn amplify the situation. I chose to turn the sound off. In hindsight, if I were in a public or semi-public place, I’d like someone else to hear that sound and know everything was not okay.
All of the data collected from video and voice recordings, location, and time stamps will saved to your history. It can be accessed at any time and would be extremely useful in the event that you needed to share it with law enforcement.
GPS tracking let’s friends follow you while you’re out. Once activated users will be notified of your “Follow Me” request, and you’ll know as soon as they accept. If “friends” is the option chosen when Follow Me is activated, your friends will continue to know your locations until Follow Me is turned off. There’s also a timer option so that you can set when and how long friends follow you.
Timer mode is perfect for jogging, hikes or anytime you except an activity to take a set amount of time. Just let bSafe know how long you want the app to follow your moves and if you don’t check-in on time an alarm will be activated. This alarm alerts all your friends, who can access your journey while the timer is active. Don’t worry, if you encounter unexpected obstacles or delays you can update the timer as you go.
This feature would have been handy during my online dating phase. Just the right get-out-jail-free card for awful dates, excessively long meetings or generally awkward situations. Simply choose a friend from your network that you’d like to call you—family members will probably be best suited to most situations—and set the timer. Calls be sent immediately or up to an hour later.
When the call comes in, it looks like an incoming call screen. Complete with “answer” and “decline” icons, caller’s name and little ringing phone icon. Aside from the missing photo we all have now, it’s pretty convincing!
Check-in with bSafe
Let everyone, or a close group of friends, know that you’ve made it safely to your destination with private check-ins. Thanks to GPS tracking, there’s no need to search for the nearest address. One click will share the info, quickly and easily. This is especially easy if you’re meeting up with friends you have listed in your safety network. Don’t know the address of the bar, movie theater or shop you’re in? Just check-in and they’ll be able to find you without a problem.
While my safety network is small, I find this to be great. It’s easy to use and everything is very straight-forward. Unlike most apps I’ve used, I haven’t experienced any glitches when trying to use the features. Although, I did try to add friends while my connection was less-than-fabulous and the links bSafe sent returned 404 errors, ultimately not working. As long as you’re internet connection, WiFi or mobile data, is in ship-shape bSafe You works great! Even though I don’t find myself in many questionable situations, this is an app I’ll keep using just to make my social life easier.