- Apple on Tuesday rolled out Emergency SOS via satellite for iPhone 14 users.
- The service is free for two years with the latest iPhone models and allows you to text emergency services when you don’t have cell service.
- Apple will spend $450 million partnering with US companies, including Globalstar, to enable the emergency satellite texting feature.
Apple The iPhone is trying to give users a measure of security even when they are in a location without cell service.
The company launched on Tuesday emergency sos via satellite, which allows users to text emergency services when they’re off the grid, whether they’re camping in the mountains or driving through the night in a remote area. The service is available to iPhone 14 customers and is free for the first two years.
Apple announced the emergency feature in September, when it introduced the iPhone 14 lineup. To enable the service, Apple said last week it would partner with US companies to spend $450 million, with most of the money going to Globalstar, a Louisiana-based satellite operator.
This will work for all iPhone 14 users. They do this by pointing their phones at the sky and hooking up to one of the 24 GlobalStar satellites in low Earth orbit.
Apple doesn’t want users to test the service for non-emergencies. The company offered me a demo last week to explain how to use it.
Here’s how it works:
- In the event of an emergency, try calling 911. If you don’t have cell service, your phone will try to connect to another carrier’s tower. If that doesn’t work, an option to “Emergency text via satellite” will pop up.
- You can also go to iMessage to text 911 or SOS, then tap Emergency Services.
- An option will populate that you can tap to report an emergency.
- Emergency questions will be populated to help you best describe your situation. The first sign will say “What is an emergency?” You will then be able to choose from options such as “Car or vehicle problem,” or “Illness or injury.” Next you will be taken through a series of more in-depth questions.
- You will be given the option of telling your emergency contacts that you have called emergency services, as well as your location and the nature of your emergency. You can also use the Find My app to share your location with friends and family via satellite.
- To connect to a satellite, your phone will ask you to point it at the sky. As long as you have a clear view, you should be able to connect to a satellite, but it can take up to 15 seconds for your messages to go through. If you don’t have a clear view of the sky because of trees or any other obstruction, it may take up to a minute for the text to complete. And since satellites orbit the Earth so fast, you’ll need to move your phone slightly to stay connected during a call.
- Once you connect to emergency services via satellite, they will immediately know your location and the nature of your emergency, but you will be asked a few more questions to help emergency personnel find you and prepare .
- If you have your Medical ID through your iPhone’s health settings, emergency services will be able to see important personal information, such as what medications you’re taking and the names of your emergency contacts.
To try out Emergency SOS via satellite, Apple has a demo option.
- go to Settings.
- Tap on Emergency SOS.
- Tap Try Demo. You will then be taken through the same prompts that you would get in a real emergency. You’ll even be able to turn off your cell service and connect to a satellite so you can experience it. You’ll get a rushed response when it’s not pointing in the right direction.
For now, Emergency SOS via satellite is only available in the US and Canada.
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Correction: The Satellite SOS feature does not require a software update.
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