iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via satellite now available in the US and Canada

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Apple has announced a new safety service Emergency SOS via satellite for its customers in the US and Canada.

Available for all iPhone 14 models, the technology allows users to message with emergency services outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage.

Also, if users want friends and family to know their whereabouts, they can now open the Find My app and share their location via satellite.

Emergency SOS via satellite is available in the US and Canada starting today, November 15, and will come to France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK in December.

“Some of the most popular places to travel are off the beaten path and simply lack cellular coverage. With Emergency SOS via satellite, the iPhone 14 lineup provides an indispensable tool that can get users the help they need while they are off the grid,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

“Our teams worked tirelessly to tackle a new set of technical challenges to bring this service to life, in addition to building a reliable on-the-ground infrastructure. Emergency SOS via satellite is a breakthrough service available only on the iPhone 14 lineup, and a new innovation that we hope will provide our customers some peace of mind.”

Every model in the iPhone 14 lineup — iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max — can connect directly to a satellite. They will use a combination of custom-designed components and deeply integrated software.

“Providing Emergency SOS via satellite is an important breakthrough that will save lives. The critical work being done by Apple to create innovative new solutions to support 911 providers and first responders is a huge step forward in protecting Californians and the broader public during an emergency situation,” said Mark Ghilarducci, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services’ director.

“We dedicate our lives to helping people in need, but there are inevitably people who are not able to contact a dispatcher. Emergency SOS via satellite will allow us to help iPhone users in more remote areas who might not otherwise be able to reach us,” said Jennifer Kirkland, ENP, the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center’s 911 center manager.

“Because this service requires no additional technology for PSAPs, and because Apple has implemented a relay center model that 911 operators are familiar with, we can expect a seamless rollout, both for the PSAPs that accept text messages, and for those that are still voice-only.”

Satellites move rapidly, have low bandwidth, and are located thousands of miles away from Earth. It can take a few minutes for short messages to reach their destination.

Apple designed and built custom components and software that allow iPhone 14 to connect to a satellite’s unique frequencies without a bulky antenna.

A text compression algorithm was also developed to reduce the average size of messages by 300 percent, making the experience as fast as possible.

With Emergency SOS via satellite, users can send and receive messages in as little as 15 seconds in clear conditions. 

Using the built-in Emergency SOS via satellite demo, users can test satellite connectivity on their iPhone by connecting to a real satellite in range without calling emergency services, allowing them to experience the process and familiarize themselves with the service.

For users who go off the grid but don’t experience an emergency, this advanced technology also enables them to share their location via satellite with Find My.

In the Find My app, users can open the Me tab, swipe up to see My Location via Satellite, and tap Send My Location.

The satellite connection on the iPhone 14 lineup also works with other safety features available on iPhone and Apple Watch, including Crash Detection and Fall Detection.

Availability

Emergency SOS via satellite and Find My via satellite are available today in the US and Canada, and will be available in France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK in December. The service will be included for free for two years starting at the time of activation of a new iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Emergency SOS via satellite and Find My via satellite require iOS 16.1.


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Author: Francis Rey

Francis is a voracious reader and prolific writer. He has been writing about social media and technology for more than 10 years. During off hours, he relishes moments with his wife and daughter.

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