Best Survival Apps of 2022

Last Updated on March 31, 2022 by John Martin
Best Survival Apps 2021

Survive because of your apps? Really?

Here’s a true story and a few reasons why your phone can save your life. Plus there’s a guide here to the best survival apps of 2022.

Apps can help keep you alive. Dan Woolley is living proof. He survived the massive Haiti earthquake with quite a bit of help from his phone.

Blood oozed from his leg and head. But his First Aid & CPR app helped keep him calm and use what he had to bandage his wounds. HIs phone light guided him to a safer place to wait for help. He set an alarm to sound every 20 minutes to keep him awake so he didn’t go into shock. Rescuers dug him out of the rubble 65 hours later.

Right now, before any catastrophe, apps can teach you vital skills. Tying knots, building shelters, how to identify edible plants and more.

But after you’re already facing the crisis?

Identifying Wild Edibles

Apps can entertain you, inspire hope, guide you to the right decisions and even help you communicate when there’s no cell or internet service.

What Makes A Good App?

If your app depends on the internet (either WiFi or cell service) to function, it’s probably useless during an emergency.

Sure, some apps that use the internet and teach you skills now – to help you get ready before a crisis happens – they’re useful.

Apps that let you keep all the necessary information right on your phone – are the very best.

Some apps may be worth setting up an account and giving out minimal info to get going. But the more anonymous you can stay, the better.

Free is always better than paid. But some apps might be good enough to pay for. Use your judgement.

Important: Read These 5 Points (30 Seconds)… Before You Download

  • Apps are always getting updated. That vital feature you love might be put on another menu, screen or even get removed. Check your apps occasionally to make sure they still work.
  • Some phone plans may leave you with unexpected costs from large data downloads. Using WiFi may (or may not) help you get around this.
  • Storage may become an issue with some apps. Learn how to manage the storage on your phone.
  • Don’t depend on alerts. Apps may fail. You might not get that earthquake or flood alert until it’s too late.
  • And never rely only on your phone to get you through… batteries die, there may be no way to communicate, your phone GPS may fail or your device may get damaged.
No Signal and Battery Dead

Apps You Already Have On Your Phone

Here are the new (and lifesaving) ways every prepared person should know to use these old familiar tools.

As you might guess, I have an iPhone. But I also make notes for all of you Android users too.


Camera App

Your camera can help document property loss to get your insurance check.

It can also document your path in the wilderness to keep you from getting lost.

And of course photos and videos can help you remember what happened.



Making notes could become extremely important during a disaster…

  • Your personal journal
  • Medications and dosages (or vital signs) of a sick person
  • Contact info for someone
  • Text messages you want to send when you finally get enough signal bars
  • And (hopefully not) your last will and testament

Android calls this app “Memo.”



Under Settings on an iPhone, look for “Emergency SOS.” You can change features to send an emergency call, set emergency contacts and more.

Also note that “Battery:” under Settings has a “Low Power Mode” you may want to use in an emergency.

Android has an app called “Emergency Alerts.” This allows you to get a variety of important notifications. See settings for this app to add emergency contacts, weather alerts and “Emergency Mode” which extends your battery power.



Or Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive.

Online storage comes in extremely handy for business docs, insurance info, evacuation plans, medical papers, etc.

You won’t want these just in the cloud only. Download them to your phone for offline use when you have no internet access. Consider encrypting your important stuff too.



Your contact list may be one of the most valuable things you have in an emergency.

Being able to contact friends or family outside of the disaster area may become vital.

Just make sure you have multiple backups of your more important contacts, including a paper copy.


Flashlight on iPhone Lock Screen

Many newer phones have a flashlight feature, such as this one on the lock screen of the iPhone.

Of course, this should not be the only light source you plan to have in an emergency, but it sure is handy and it’s a great backup.

On most Android phones, you can turn on the flashlight by pulling down the Quick Settings menu from the top of the screen and then tapping the flashlight button.

Survival Guides

Army Survival Skills

Army Survival Skills

This is the U.S. Army Field Manual 21-76 “Survival,” considered the most authoritative survival guide. The app includes both the newer and the more in-depth older version of this manual.

The app is far more than just a bunch of words like most manuals are. The publisher brings the manual to life with easy-to-use menus and lots of illustrations. And all info is available offline. Everything downloads completely to your device so no internet service is needed to access it.

Learn about basic survival, evasion, first aid, water, shelters, edible plants and so much more. Complete with hi-res images of animals, plants and insects.

By Double Dog Studios. ($1.99 in the Apple Store.)

For Android, “Offline Survival Manual” by ligi is considered the best app for the FM 21-76 manual(Free in the Google Play Store.)

SAS Survival

SAS Survival

While this and the Army Survival Skills app have a lot of info overlap, each has a lot of unique info too. That’s why I have both.

I like that SAS Survival allows you to choose an environment, like arctic, desert, etc. And then see more info specific to that environment. Plus there are videos you can either download or stream. Just make sure you download any videos you might want to access later.

All the rest of the guide seems to automatically be available offline. I’d avoid the “Lite” version, which is free. It just doesn’t have enough info.

By ($5.99 in Apple and Google stores.)

Knots 3D

Knots 3D

Tying knots is a vital survival skill. Each type of knot is a different kind of tool you can use. If you must tie a knot for a rope you climb on, your life may depend on knowing how to tie that knot. But other kinds of knots? Like the ones you would use when you’re building a shelter? Knowing how to tie these can make life a whole lot easier.

Knots 3D teaches you with super easy-to-understand color 3D animated illustrations. Sure, some knots may take time to master. But you’ll learn most of them pretty quickly with this app.

Browse by category of knot, by use (like for camping, boating, etc.) or alphabetically by name. Put any of the knots into a Favorites collection. You can also slow down or speed up the 3D knot tying animations – learn at your own speed.

Many other knot tying apps have ads or don’t teach anywhere near the variety of knots this one does.

By Nynix. ($4.99 in Apple and Google stores.)



Why so much to say here about finding wild edible plants? Not only is it a super important survival skill. But a lot can go wrong with eating unfamiliar plants. You don’t want to learn this skill during a crisis. 

PlantSnap (by PlantSnap Inc. from is the best app I’ve found to help. It’s like Shazam…but for plants. You simply snap a photo of the plant and it gives you a handful of likely choices.

LeafSnap claims to be slightly more accurate (98% vs 94%) but the app only works best in certain areas, like northeastern US states. PlantSnap works worldwide.

Both apps still give wrong answers. If you have patience, PlantSnap is probably one of the faster ways to learn about edible plants to get you ready for a survival situation.

Just make sure you learn now instead of when there’s a disaster. The app needs internet to connect to its plant database.

At least the app seems easier to use than most books on edible plants. Many books (even for the Midwest) list too many plants outside the area where I live. I don’t want to wade through a bunch of choices that don’t apply.

For the app to work, the quality of the photo is key. Enough light, not blurry and get multiple leaves in the pic.

On the first try, it failed to identify my indoor lemon tree. (It’s not a Japanese camellia.) Second try, it succeeded. For a basil plant, the right answer was second in a list of 5 choices.

Obviously this is not for risking your life eating some plant that might be poisonous.

Its strength is in speeding up the ID process so you know what grows in your area.

So you will have food to eat long-term or even in a pinch.

Try the free version first: (Apple    Google.) It has ads and only allows 10 photos per day. But most people either hate or love this app. And paying for the pro version does not make it work better. You just get unlimited photos and no ads. PlantSnap Pro costs $14.99 in the Apple store and $19.99 in the Google Play store. I believe this is a yearly subscription amount.

Also note that many features of the app require you to sign up with your name and email address. This is optional and not needed to identify plants.

I highly suggest you start learning about plants in your area you could eat in an emergency. First find out what a plant might be. Then learn more to make 100% sure it’s safe.

But even with safe plants, your body might need to adjust to it. So why not get used to eating some of this kind of food now, rather than in an emergency?

Otherwise, you may have to depend on the anti-diarrheal or constipation meds in your first aid kit.

If you wait until an emergency, plan on being really, really hungry. You see, there are other edible plant guide apps that work without an internet connection.

Wild Plant Survival Guide ($1.99), for example, is just a repeat of the info in the Army Survival Skills app. More than a hundred possible plants. More than a dozen of them listed as edible.

Edible Plant Guide ($2.99) has a longer list. So plan on sorting through thousands of possible plants.

And then there’s the fear as you put something not 100% known into your mouth… even if you have a thorough guide like Army Survival Skills “Plant Edibility Testing” to help.

3D Compass – Augmented Reality

3D Compass

This one is just plain fun to use. But super practical too. See a compass superimposed on the camera image as you turn the phone different directions.

You not only see your direction, but also your compass bearing in degrees, your altitude, speed and latitude/longitude.

By Henning Poulsen. (Free from the Apple store.) See 3D Compass Plus by Sam Lu, also free in the Google store.)

First Aid by American Red Cross

First Aid App

This one could be a lifesaver. Helps you know what to do ahead of time and during a crisis. It even gives you a quick summary of helpful things for when you face various disasters.

What I really like about this app is that it still works when you don’t have internet. You can even view the videos offline.

Free from the Apple store and the Google store.

In Conclusion

Let me know in the comments your thoughts on these apps. Which ones do you enjoy?

This is not an exhaustive list. Just a few of the best survival apps for 2021 that I’ve found. Stay tuned for more later… a Geiger counter, a radio frequency guide for your local area, an earthquake app, weather and news alerts, a guide to find a cell signal and even one to predict your risk of contracting COVID-19.