iPhone 14 users now have the ability to connect with emergency services in cases where Wi-Fi and cellular coverage is not available. The service will be extended to France, Germany, and Ireland in December
CUPERTINO (CALIFORNIA) Apple today announced that its innovative safety service Emergency SOS via Satellite is now available for customers in the US, Canada, and other countries. The innovative technology is available on all iPhone 14 models. It allows users to communicate with emergency services even when they are not connected to Wi-Fi or cellular. Users can also use the Find My App to share their location via satellite with their family and friends to assure them of their safety while they are away from the grid. Satellite emergency SOS is now available in the USA and Canada, starting November 15th. It will also be available in France, Germany, and Ireland in December.
“Some of the most sought-after places to travel are far from the main roads and have poor cellular coverage. The iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS via satellite is an invaluable tool that allows users to get the help they need when they are offline,” Greg Joswiak (Apple’s senior vice-president of Worldwide Marketing), said. “Our teams worked hard to overcome a new set of technical challenges and build a reliable infrastructure on the ground. The iPhone 14’s emergency SOS via satellite service is a revolutionary innovation and will give our customers peace of mind.
Each model of the iPhone 14 range — iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max – can connect directly with a satellite using a combination of custom-designed components as well as deeply integrated software. Emergency SOS via satellite is a combination of existing features, such as Emergency SOS and Medical ID. It also allows users to share critical information with family members, friends, and emergency services. This revolutionary service allows Public Safety Answering Points, or emergency services call centers — to connect to more users in an emergency situation. It does not require additional software or protocols to allow communications. Users will be connected to either emergency services equipped to receive SMS messages or relay centers with Apple-trained emergency professionals who can contact PSAPs that can’t receive such messages.
“Providing Emergency SOS via satellite to save lives is an important breakthrough. “Apple’s innovative solutions for supporting 911 providers and first responders are a significant step forward in protecting Californians during an emergency situation,” stated Mark Ghilarducci (director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services).
Emergency SOS via Satellite Works
iPhone can quickly and easily dial emergency services when a user needs it. This is possible with either a long press of the volume and power buttons or by pressing the power button five fast times. Emergency SOS via satellite, which was introduced with the iPhone 14 line, allows users to quickly and easily call emergency services if there is no Wi-Fi or cellular coverage. An easy-to-use interface is displayed on iPhone to help the user connect to a satellite network. The user completes a short questionnaire that allows them to answer important questions. This information is sent to dispatchers as part of the initial message. It helps to understand the user’s location and the situation quickly. Apple collaborated closely with experts to review the protocols and standard questions to determine the most common reasons to call emergency services.
The intuitive interface directs the user to the location of their iPhone to connect to it and then sends the first message. The message contains the user’s responses to the questionnaire, location (including altitude), iPhone battery level, and, if applicable, Medical ID. The user can send the questionnaire and any follow-up messages via satellite to dispatchers who accept text messages or to relay centers that are staffed with Apple-trained specialists who can make a request for help. To keep the user informed, the transcript can be shared with emergency contacts.
“We are dedicated to helping those in need. But there will always be people who aren’t able to reach a dispatcher. ENP Jennifer Kirkland, Grand Junction Regional Communication Center’s 911 center manager, stated that emergency SOS via satellite will enable us to assist iPhone users in remote areas that might not otherwise have the ability to contact us. This service does not require additional technology from PSAPs and Apple has established a relay center model that 911 operators are familiar with. We can expect a seamless rollout for both the PSAPs that allow text messages and those that still use voice only.
Satellites are fast, have low bandwidth, and can be hundreds of miles from Earth. This means that even small messages may take several minutes to reach their destination. Apple developed and manufactured custom components and software to allow iPhone 14 to connect with satellite frequencies without the need for a bulky antenna. To reduce the message size by 3x, a text compression algorithm was also created. This makes the experience as quick as possible. Users can use Emergency SOS via Satellite to send and receive messages in a matter of minutes in clear conditions.
“Emergency SMS via satellite will be helpful for rural residents without cellular coverage as well as those who are in the path of natural disasters that knock out mobile networks. It will enable members of impacted communities to contact 911 and get assistance, and that’s what we do,” Laurene Anderson, NENA’s president, and Charlotte County’s E911 manager, stated. This service will only be adopted if everyone is aware and trained. Apple’s efforts to inform dispatchers and let people practice using a demo mode that doesn’t contact 911 will help everyone to know what to do in an emergency.
This advanced technology allows users to share their location via satellite using Find My. Open the Find My app and swipe up to view My Location via Satellite. Then, tap Send My Location. Satellite connection for the iPhone 14 line also works with other safety features such as Crash Detection or Fall Detection.
- Find My via satellite and Emergency SOS via satellite are now available in the US and Canada. They will also be available in France and Germany in December. This service is included free of charge for two years, starting with the activation of an iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, or iPhone 14 Pro Max.
- iOS 16.1 is required for Emergency SOS via Satellite and Find Mine via Satellite.