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iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS via satellite feature saves stranded man in Alaska

Updated Dec 12th, 2022 4:54PM EST
iPhone 14 Display
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Apple introduced a new safety feature in September alongside the iPhone 14 series. The devices support Emergency SOS communication via satellite, allowing users to reach first responders from remote areas or when cellular and Wi-Fi connections are down.

Apple made the feature available to users recently, allowing them to test Emergency SOS via satellite via an iPhone demo so they can train themselves to use it. There’s already good news regarding the functionality, as Emergency SOS via satellite helped save a man stranded in Alaska.

Alaska State Troopers received an alert in the early hours of December 1st. A man was traveling from Noorvik to Kotzebue by snow machine, and he had become stranded. He was in a remote, cold location that lacked cellular connectivity.

That’s when he activated the Emergency SOS via satellite feature on iPhone 14 to contact authorities.

As a result, Apple’s Emergency Response Center worked with local search and rescue teams and the Northwest Arctic Borough Search and Rescue Coordinator. Volunteer searchers went out to the GPS coordinates the iPhone 14 relayed to Apple during the emergency communication. The rescuers found the man, and he did not sustain any injuries.

A simulated Emergency SOS chat via satellite on iPhone 14.
A simulated Emergency SOS chat via satellite on iPhone 14. Image source: Apple Inc.

Per MacRumors, the area where the victim got stranded was remote and on the fringes of satellite connectivity availability. Apple explains on its support pages that Emergency SOS via satellite might not work in places above 62 degrees latitude.

But the Alaska man was traveling between Noorvik and Kotzebue, which are close to 69 degrees latitude.

The rescuers were “impressed with the accuracy and completeness of information included in the initial alert,” according to MacRumors. Emergency SOS via satellite collects information from a victim via a text exchange-like experience to ensure that the rescuers have as much data as possible about the incident.

All four iPhone 14 models support Emergency SOS via satellite. iPhone users who routinely venture to remote areas should test it out to learn how to operate it in case of an emergency.

The feature is available in North America and is free to use for two years. Apple will soon expand coverage to France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK.

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.