New OnStar App Offers Crash Assistance in Any Vehicle

For more than 24 years, OnStar and public safety professionals have been working together and, during that time, our world has witnessed amazing advances in mobile technology. We are proud to announce the ability to deliver key OnStar safety services through a smartphone — introducing the new OnStar Guardian App.1


In addition to OnStar’s embedded system in GM vehicles, now OnStar customers and their families can take key OnStar safety services with them in any vehicle. The OnStar Guardian App can help in a crash or an emergency, supported by the same Emergency-Certified Advisors,2 call handling and triage process.


How it Works

Mobile Crash Response with the OnStar Guardian App uses the smartphone’s built-in sensors to detect a crash. This is similar to the OnStar hardware embedded in GM vehicles, which uses Automatic Crash Response3 — built-in sensors in the vehicle — to alert Advisors to a crash.



Connecting to Customers in a Crash

The way OnStar Guardian communicates to customers depends on the mobile device’s operating system.4 When Mobile Crash Response alerts an OnStar Advisor, they will contact the Emergency Communications Center (ECC). If the customer reports injuries or does not respond, a second Advisor will be connected to provide assistance and will remain on the line until First Responders arrive.


Public Safety Benefits

Actual photo of ANI/ALI screen for the OnStar Guardian App from Wyandotte (Michigan) ECC

OnStar understands the challenge First Responders face when responding to an emergency incident, including getting the right help to the right location. The OnStar Guardian App uses GPS satellite data to determine the caller’s location.

To help ECC personnel easily identify this new call type, we have worked with Intrado to modify the Automatic Number Identification (ANI)/Automatic Location Identification (ALI) screen information. This modification identifies when the call originates from an OnStar-equipped vehicle versus the OnStar Guardian app. OnStar vehicle-based calls are identified as “OnStar” and Guardian App-originated calls will appear as “OnStar Mobile User.”


Crash Detection

The app uses the smartphone’s built-in sensors to detect a crash once a vehicle is traveling at or above a threshold speed for a specific amount of time, and is designed to recognize the unique pattern of a crash to alert an OnStar Advisor. This limits the chance of triggering a false Mobile Crash Response incident with a dropped smartphone.


Guardian Emergency Assistance

OnStar Guardian also offers a red SOS button with a priority connection to an OnStar Emergency-Certified Advisor. When a customer is uncertain what to do in a potential emergency, they can request emergency assistance for themselves or another in need of help. When the red SOS button is pressed, the app displays the message seen at right, suggesting that customers call 911 directly for life-threatening situations or providing the option to call OnStar Emergency or cancel the request.


Please download the OnStar Guardian Public Safety Handout for reference and share this information with your co-workers to stay up to date on OnStar’s emergency services. For more information, please visit or contact us at




  1. U.S. and Canada only. Available on select Apple and Android devices. Mobile Crash Response services are intended for use in vehicle only and can connect automatically on Android devices only. Service availability, features and functionality vary by device and software version. Active service plan, OnStar Guardian service plan add-on, cell reception, GPS signal and device data connection required. Terms apply. Device permissions are required for app to operate properly. OnStar links to emergency services. Device and app my not transmit all crash data. Pricing and availability subject to change. You may cancel at any time by calling 1.888.4ONSTAR (1.888.466.7827).
  2. Certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch.
  3. Automatic Crash Response requires an active OnStar plan, working electrical system, cell reception and GPS signal. OnStar links to emergency services. Not all vehicles may transmit all crash data. See for details and limitations.
  4. Android devices: When a crash is detected, OnStar Guardian automatically connects to OnStar and an Emergency Certified Advisor communicates with the customer over the phone’s speaker or connected Bluetooth device. Apple devices: When a crash is detected, OnStar Guardian automatically contacts OnStar. An Emergency Certified Advisor will call the member’s phone to make a voice connection.