A gadget can turn a life-saver if you’ve got the right tools set up.

You can’t carry weapons all the time but you do carry your smartphone.

The iPhone, for instance, comes with apps that can be a real SOS device when you need it. With crime rates shooting up, instances of theft, rape and vandalism are becoming increasingly common. New York’s Mayor Bloomberg reported on the increase in theft and kind of slyly attributed that to Apple’s smartphone boom. Now, whether that is true or not is not the point.

The point is, you should protect yourself. And following the “there’s an app for that” philosophy, we’ve got a bunch of SOS apps covered here.

Best Self-Defense iPhone Apps

Essential Self-Defense iPhone Apps:

1. My Panic Alarm

My Panic Alarm iPhone AppOpen the app, tap the alarm button and the iPhone will sound the alarm klaxons so anyone in the near will know immediately. Besides the sound, the alarm also flashes colors on the iPhone screen to grab the attention of others. It’s an app you should use when you are being attacked in a relatively people-filled place.

Price: Free
Usefulness Rating: 3/5
Download My Panic Alarm

2. SOS iEmergency

SOS iEmergency iPhone AppSOS iEmergency has one motive: in an emergency, you should just trigger the alarm button. Everything else should be taken care of by the app. Popular emergencies like Medical, Fire and Crime are covered so you just have to tap the right button during the emergency. An SMS and email will be sent, containing your GPS co-ordinates at the time of the emergency, to a preset email id and number (of a person you trust) and the local authorities based on the country setting. There’s a lot of power in this app but it’s going to cost a little.

Price: $1.99
Usefulness Rating: 4/5
Download SOS iEmergency

3. SEND HELP – Emergency SOS Panic Button

SEND HELP iPhone AppSend Help app works pretty much the same way as the previous app. One large button lets you send emergency SMS and emails to preset people besides letting you publish your location detail as your Facebook and Twitter statuses so your friends are alerted at once.

Price: Free
Usefulness Rating: 4/5
Download SEND HELP

4. Global SOS

Global SOS iPhone AppGlobal SMS puts information first for you: in case of an emergency, it shows you the most important emergency numbers of the country you are in. This is good for travelers who visit other countries and have little knowledge about emergency numbers of that country. The app also lets you send a predefined SMS along with your location details to a preset number (person).

Price: Free
Usefulness Rating: 4/5
Download Global SOS

5. SafeSnapp

SafeSnapp iPhone AppSafeSnapp takes things a little further. It is a capture and alarm tool where you can click three rapid pictures of the person attacking you (theft, mugging, assault etc.) and the app then sends these pictures to preset numbers instantly. This, along with the GPS location data, so the cops can track your assailant down. The app sends the data to your email ID and a preset contact and it’s saved on their servers too. (You can view previous SOS emails via the app).

Price: $3.99
Usefulness Rating: 4/5
Download SafeSnapp

6. Attack Alarm SMS

Attack Alarm SMS iPhone AppAttack Alarm SMS is a toned down, simplistic version of SOS alarm systems. It’s a giant red button which when you press initiates a loud sound, while sending an SOS message to two contacts you’ve configured in the app.

Price: Free
Usefulness Rating: 3/5
Download Attack Alarm SMS

7. SafeTrek

SafeTrek Self-defense iPhone App IconSafeTrek is a simple and ingenious way of alerting the cops when you feel unsafe. You hold the safe button till you feel safe. If you release the button in the event of a danger, the app will send out an SOS along with location information (continuously monitored via your iPhone) in ten seconds. You can disable the alert if you want to – within ten seconds – by entering a PIN. The app is one of the most minimal safety apps. Read full review of SafeTrek

Price: $1.99
Download SafeTrek