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iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via satellite feature expands to Europe

Published Dec 13th, 2022 7:10AM EST
iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via satellite feature

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As promised, Apple is expanding the iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via satellite feature to more countries. Last month, this exclusive function available to the latest iPhone devices was released in the United States and Canada. Now, users in France, Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom can connect with emergency services when cellular and Wi-Fi coverage are unavailable.

According to the Cupertino company, 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 through a combination of custom-designed components and deeply integrated software.

Emergency SOS via satellite builds on existing features to iPhone users, including Emergency SOS, Medical ID, emergency contacts, and Find My location sharing, offering the ability to connect to a satellite to share critical information with emergency services, family, and friends.

“Emergency SOS via satellite makes emergency communications over satellite more accessible, which is very exciting,” said Gary Machado, the European Emergency Number Association’s CEO. “In practice, it means that many more people will be able to contact 112 when they have no mobile coverage and need urgent assistance. We are confident that this will save many lives and offer significant help to emergency services dealing with these often very complicated rescues.”

How does Emergency SOS via Satellite work?

iPhone can quickly call emergency services if a user needs help, even if they cannot dial 112, with a long press on the power and volume buttons or by rapidly pressing the power button five times. 

With Emergency SOS via satellite — introduced with the iPhone 14 lineup — if a user cannot reach emergency services because no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is available, an easy-to-use interface appears on iPhone to get the user help utilizing a satellite connection. A short questionnaire seems to help the user answer vital questions with a few simple taps, which are transmitted to dispatchers in the initial message to ensure they can quickly understand a user’s situation and location.

Apple said it had worked closely with experts to review standard questions and protocols to identify the most common reasons for calling emergency services. Following the questionnaire, the intuitive interface guides the user on where to point their iPhone to connect and sends the initial message. This message includes the user’s questionnaire responses; location, including altitude; iPhone battery level; and Medical ID, if enabled.

Emergency SOS via satellite and Find My via satellite are now available in France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK. Support for more countries will follow next year. The service is free for two years, starting with activating a new iPhone 14 model.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.