18 survival apps for your smartphone

Chances are good that you have your phone handy in case of an emergency. Here are some useful apps in case of a disaster. Whoever it is.

In France, as of June 21, 2022, a new population warning and information system called FR-Alert has been deployed throughout the country. “It allows to send notifications to mobile phones of people present in the area facing serious danger (natural disaster, biological, chemical or industrial accident, terrorist act, etc.) to inform them about the nature of the risk and its danger. about the place and the behaviors to be adopted to protect themselves”the government explains.

Specifically, this system, which currently only applies to metropolitan authorities, uses mobile broadcasting rather than text messaging (mobile broadcast) that distributes warning messages via radio waves through communication antennas. It also allows you to limit the warning to the danger zone. These messages are especially intended to provide vital information (fire, flood, industrial accident, etc.), the exact location of the danger and the attitude to receive (stay at home, evacuate, etc.). In addition, there is a Twitter account Ministry of Internal Affairs – Warning.

Finally, don’t forget that if you have an iPhone 14, Apple activated the satellite emergency SOS system in France this month. In addition to all this, apps can be very useful during a disaster. Here’s our pick for “just in case” downloads.

Survivalism: BA.ba

  • SAS Survival Guide. This survival guide in English explains all the tricks to start surviving. Preparation, food, orientation, health, safety… A true survival guide in your pocket. Gold mine for 6.99 euros on iOS, 6.49 euros on Android.
  • Household appliances. This iPhone app allows you to list all the food you’ve set aside in the event of a disaster to survive a few days, weeks, or months. By scanning the barcode, thanks to these provisions, you will have all the information, including the expiration date and possible shelf life. €3.49 on iOS
  • 3D knots. Here’s a very detailed guide to learning how to tie all kinds of knots (177 variations!). The application is translated into French and all nodes are explained and presented in 3D animation. Absolutely. €6.99 on iOS, €6.49 on Android.
  • Kiwi. Download part of Wikipedia, it can always be useful. Having useful files for your survival even without a connection (like how to start a fire) this app is very practical. Free on iOS and Android.
  • Directional compass. While the iPhone integrates a compass natively, this isn’t always the case on Android. Some brands offer a solution, others skip it. That’s why it might be useful to download one. Compass Galaxy has the highest rating on the Play Store. Free on Android.


  • Saving program. The French Red Cross has created an app for those who don’t think of all the “life-saving gestures” and prefer to keep a reminder in their pocket at all times in case of an accident. Free on iOS and Android.
  • Survive. This app maps Cardiac Defibrillators around the world. To date, it lists more than 245,000 defibrillators. Free on iOS and Android.

Live in nature

  • The quality of the tea. In the event of a disaster, it can be helpful to know the cleanliness of a watercourse or its level of contamination before attempting to obtain water or wash. Free on iOS and Android.
  • Mushroom. The name may sound funny, but this program is very effective for sorting edible or poisonous mushrooms. Free on iOS and Android.
  • PlantNet. In the same spirit as Champignouf, for example, you may need to know more about a plant before feeding on its fruit. Or the leaves, stems or sap can cause allergies and irritation. Free on iOS and Android.

Weather information

  • The weather is blue. It is currently one of the best programs to get the weather forecast in your area, on land and at sea. Its advantage: it lists not only municipalities, but also, for example, passes and mountain peaks. Free on iOS and Android.
  • Storm warning. Is it “closed” for reasons X or Y? In inclement weather, this app will provide you with useful information during a storm. It alerts you if a storm occurs in your area and pinpoints the location of lightning. Free on iOS and Android.

major disasters

  • Teleray. This application of the Institute of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety allows you to monitor the level of radioactivity in France at all times. Information is provided in real time. Free on iOS and Android.
  • My earthquake warning. This app warns about earthquakes around the world. It also allows you to track the history of earthquakes since 1970. It’s free on iOS and Android.


  • Alarm. All-in-one messaging for text, voice and video. Importantly, communication is end-to-end encrypted by default. Free on iOS and Android.
  • Google Translate. It is true that the latest versions of Android and iOS include a translation system, but it is always practical to have a dedicated program. The main can switch from text to text, text to speech and speech to text. You can also use the camera to translate printed words. Additional interest: the program works without an internet connection. Free on iOS and Android.


  • Gaia GPS. This service includes a rich catalog of topographic, satellite, road and NatGeo maps. Many features are available in offline mode, which is handy both during network shutdowns and when you find yourself in a dead zone. Track your route, import GPX files, and more. Also, this app does not drain the battery. Offers paid options for certain maps (IGN, Swiss Topo, etc.). Free on iOS and Android.
  • Cairn Walk and Outdoor Trail. This app is designed for hiking, but can be especially useful during a natural disaster or when you’re lost in the middle of nowhere. Indeed, it includes emergency numbers as well as areas where other people using the app can find networks with their smartphones. If you are offline for a while, the app can send information to your loved ones. Free on iOS and Android.

And don’t forget to include your emergency information (blood type, emergency contact, etc.) on your phone! If you don’t know how to do this, follow our complete guide.

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