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iPhone 14 could finally introduce satellite connectivity

Published Apr 13th, 2022 5:40PM EDT

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A couple of reports last summer claimed that the iPhone 13 might get support for satellite communication. However, that hasn’t happened, and the iPhone 13 models only support the same types of wireless connections as virtually every other mobile device: Cellular (4G/5G), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, and UWB. However, the satellite rumor has resurfaced, and it now claims that the iPhone 14 might support the connectivity standard.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman penned a report about the 2022 Apple Watch features earlier this week. In that report, the insider mentioned the possibility of satellite connectivity, referencing Apple’s future plans for the wearable device:

The company is also working to eventually bring satellite connectivity to the Apple Watch, setting the stage for emergency texting and SOS response features. It’s planning to release those capabilities on iPhone as early as this year. The technology would allow users to send text messages to emergency personnel over satellite networks and report incidents.

Gurman hasn’t elaborated on the iPhone 14’s purported satellite functionality. But he was one of the two insiders who mentioned the iPhone 13’s satellite connectivity features last year. He made similar claims at the time about the iPhone’s satellite emergency communications features.

iPhone 14 Pro new notch design concept
iPhone 14 Pro new notch design concept: Phone’s front and back. Image source: the Hacker 34 / YouTube

How satellite support might work on iPhone 14

According to that report, Apple has been working to bring satellite connectivity to iPhone for a few years. The feature, however, might not be as exciting as it sounds. The feature would work in emergencies only rather than allowing users to call and text other people over satellite instead of cellular lines.

Apple has been working on two types of features for the iPhone. One is called Emergency Message via Satellite. It’s actually an excellent idea for improving emergency services on iPhone. Users would be able to text emergency services for help over satellite when out of cellular service.

The other feature would let iPhone owners report major emergencies over satellite in instances where a regular cellular connection might not be available. Gurman’s quote from the Apple Watch story also references the same functionality.

It’s unclear whether these satellite communications features will be available on iPhone 14 this year. It’s likely that the feature will require specific hardware. That would mean not all iOS devices that can run the upcoming iOS 16 operating system would get support for satellite texting.

Gurman has been accurate with his previous reports on unreleased Apple products. But that’s not enough to confirm that the iPhone 14 series will support satellite connectivity. Apple might always change its mind. Or enable the functionality much later.

More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 14 guide.

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 brings his entertainment expertise to 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.

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