Virtual visits and digital device hints & tips

Families Outside has outlined some advice on virtual visits below, and provided some hints and tips on what you should remember when taking part in virtual visits.

Virtual visits – please first of all register for virtual visits at You will need photo identification and details of the person in prison. You will also need to be on the approved visitor list for the person you wish to have a virtual visit with.

It appears that the use of the browser Safari (from iPhones) does not allow for the emailaprisoner system to recognise and verify photo identification. The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) have suggested that Google Chrome works better and can be downloaded as an app on a phone or tablet.

If this still does not work then SPS are advising that this is a technical issue that should then be raised directly with emailaprisoner as the service provider rather than contacting the SPS family helpline or individual prisons. They can be called on 03333 706 550 or

If you are still having issues then please contact the SPS families helpline 0131 330 2888, your Families Outside allocated worker or our Helpline 0800 254 0088 to assist with setting up a virtual visit.

There is a useful video on the subject on the SPS website

There is also a selection of frequently asked questions provided by SPS.


Wi-Fi – if you do not have a Wi-Fi service in your home via a modem, then the Wi-Fi can be connected to a mobile phone using the phone’s personal hotspot:

iPhone device e.g. Apple :

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap Personal Hotspot (or tap Mobile Data and then tap on Personal Hotspot.)
  • Tap the slider next to Allow Others to Join so that it turns green.
  • You can then enable a password to secure the connection if you wish.

Android device e.g. Samsung, Sony Xperia, Huawei, Google, Nokia, HTC, LG :

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap the Network & internet option.
  • Select Hotspot & tethering.
  • Tap on Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • This page has options for turning the hotspot feature on and off.
  • Follow instructions to customize the hotspot feature to your liking.

If you can’t see the option for Personal Hotspot, contact your network provider to make sure you can use Personal Hotspot with your plan.

Data allowance – please be aware that if you are using your mobile phone to connect the Kindle Fire, this will use the data allowance on your phone. Please make sure you have adequate data to make virtual visit calls or to use the tablet for any other purpose.

SAVE MONEY: If you have a mobile phone contract for device and this contract has ended, but you are still paying the same amount for the contract, contact your provider as you will probably be being charged more per month than you should. In doing so, you can agree a new SIM only contract for your phone which will be cheaper and more than likely provide you with more talk and text time as well as a larger data allowance.

Power up – lastly, and probably the most obvious thing, please do make sure your device is fully powered to avoid any cut out in your virtual visit.

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