Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite feature was announced with the iPhone 14 series launch. The emergency SOS feature via satellite service on the iPhone 14 was recently made available in the US and Canada. Now, it seems that the feature has finally been rolled out to users in France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK.
We’ve already seen a few examples where Emergency SOS via satellite was actually able to save people stranded in remote locations. We also reported on one those events, where the new safety feature proved to be pivotal in the rescue of a snowmobiler stranded in rural Alaska.
How does Emergency SOS via Satellite Work?
The iPhone 14 series features an emergency SOS function that enables the phone to communicate directly with a satellite to contact emergency services. However, satellites are slow-moving and have limited bandwidth. To overcome this challenge, the new iPhones automatically present the user with a few questions to assess the situation.
After answering these questions, the phone will then guide the user to a satellite. Once a connection is established, the phone sends the user’s answers, location, Medical ID (if set up), and battery level to a dispatcher.
Being able to use a satellite connection to contact 999 or 112 if there is no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is a breakthrough that Apple has brought to the general public with iPhone 14.
The feature will mean that emergency services can be alerted when it was not previously possible and are then able to do their jobs to better effect, in part because of the initial information that can be shared with dispatchers, such as location and essential details about the emergency. Ultimately, this will help save lives.
– John Anthony, the British Association of Public Safety Communications Officials’ president.
The emergency SOS feature via satellite service on the iPhone 14 is free for the first two years after activation. Apple has not disclosed any pricing information for this feature yet, so it is unclear how it will be charged for after the initial two-year period. Other phone manufacturers, such as Samsung, are also planning to offer similar satellite SOS features on their phones, so it will be interesting to see how pricing for these services develops in the future.