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Apple might let you test iPhone 14 satellite connectivity

Updated 2 months ago
Published Sep 29th, 2022 11:12AM EDT
iPhone 14 Main
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

The iPhone 14 series packs a feature that’s not available from any other iPhone: support for satellite connectivity. However, the functionality is something you’ll hopefully never have to use. Apple offers Emergency SOS via Satellite mode that lets you reach out to first responders from areas where cellular and Wi-Fi coverage are absent. The feature is currently only accessible under certain circumstances, but iOS 16.1 might let you test the feature on any iPhone 14 model.

As excellent as the prospect of having that advanced SOS capability in your pocket might be, having to need it is a terrifying thought. That said, you should still know how to use satellite connectivity on the iPhone 14 in case you need it.

That way, when a stressful situation arises and you need to reach emergency services via satellite, you’ll know what to do rather than fumbling through the iPhone menus.

After all, the satellite connectivity feature is useless if you have no idea where to find it and how to make the most of it.

The same goes for any new iPhone feature. The more you ignore it, the harder it is to remember your phone can perform a specific task. And you’ll likely forget where to find the app or feature when you need it.

Emergency SOS via Satellite mode on iPhone 14.
Emergency SOS via Satellite mode on iPhone 14. Image source: Apple Inc.

It is impossible to test the iPhone 14’s satellite connectivity feature right now. Apple will roll it out in November. And once Emergency SOS via Satellite is available, some people might try to test it in remote areas.

But that could lead to fake emergency calls, which is dangerous. You should not try to use the SOS feature to see if it works. That’s why Apple may offer a demo mode for the feature in iOS 16.1.

Also, international iPhone 14 owners who do not have access to Emergency SOS via Satellite on their devices might get to experience it with a demo. Satellite support will probably expand to other markets in the coming months and years.

Find a satellite on iPhone 14 to use the emergency connectivity feature in iOS 16.
Find a satellite on iPhone 14 to use the emergency connectivity feature in iOS 16. Image source: Apple Inc.

Digging through the code of iOS 16.1 beta 3, 9to5Mac discovered a Satellite Connection Demo feature that Apple never mentioned.

From the looks of it, iPhone 14 users will be able to test the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature on their handsets without actually contacting first responders.

The new Satellite Connection Demo should be available via the Emergency SOS menu in the Settings app once iOS 16.1 rolls out. That’s assuming Apple keeps the feature in the final OS release.

iOS 16.1 will probably roll out in October alongside the iPad 16.1 release. As a reminder, iPad users did not get the iPadOS 16 update. Apple will release it as iPadOS 16.1 next month when new iPads are expected to hit stores.

iPhone 14 users can also check this Apple support document to learn more about Emergency SOS via Satellite. The feature will roll out to iPhone 14 models in November.


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Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.