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iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS via satellite feature expanding to six more countries

Published Mar 7th, 2023 9:08AM EST
iPhone 14's Emergency SOS via Satellite feature
Image: Apple Inc.

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After announcing a new iPhone 14 in yellow, Apple has also revealed the Emergency SOS via satellite feature is expanding to six more countries. First launched in November for the US and Canada, the service has rolled out for other regions, such as Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK. Later this month, it will also arrive in these countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • The Netherlands
  • Portugal

Emergency SOS via satellite feature was announced as an exclusive feature for the iPhone 14 lineup – which will likely expand to new iPhone models in the future. This function allows users to message emergency services when cellular and Wi-Fi coverage is not available through a combination of custom-designed components and deeply integrated software.

Additionally, if users want to reassure friends and family of their whereabouts while off the grid, they can open the Find My app and share their location via satellite.

“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, when the feature launched in November. “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.”

How Emergency SOS via satellite works

With Emergency SOS via satellite, if a user is not able to 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 appears to help the user answer vital questions with a few simple taps, which are transmitted to dispatchers in the initial message to ensure they are able to understand a user’s situation and location quickly. Apple 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. The questionnaire and follow-up messages are relayed directly via satellite to dispatchers that accept text messages or to relay centers staffed by Apple‑trained specialists who can call for help on the user’s behalf. The transcript can also be shared with the user’s emergency contacts to keep them informed.

The first two years of this feature are free to use, and Apple says it will disclose in the future how much it’ll charge for keeping the support of this function. The iPhone 14 in yellow will be available in stores next Tuesday.

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.

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