Apple Emergency SOS via satellite rolled out in US, Canada, coming to more countries soon

The service from Apple will be included for free for two years starting at the time of activation of any new model from the iPhone 14 series.

Highlights
  • Apple rolled out its Emergency SOS via satellite to customers in the US and Canada.
  • The safety service will be available in four more countries from December.
  • Emergency SOS via satellite and Find My via satellite require iOS 16.1.

Apple’s much-awaited safety service Emergency SOS via satellite is coming into action as the tech giant has announced that it is now available to customers in the US and Canada. This means Apple iPhone 14 users in these countries can now connect with emergency services when cellular and Wi-Fi coverage is not available. That’s not all, the safety service will be available in four more countries from December.

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The innovative technology enables users to message with emergency services outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage. Additionally, if users want to reassure friends and family of their whereabouts while travelling off the grid, they can now open the Find My app and share their location via satellite.

Apple safety service Emergency SOS availability

Emergency SOS via satellite and Find My via satellite are available in the US and Canada, and will be available in France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK in December. The service will be included for free for two years starting at the time of activation of a new iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Emergency SOS via satellite and Find My via satellite require iOS 16.1.

“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,” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said in a statement.

“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 with some peace of mind,” Joswiak added.

How Emergency SOS via Satellite works

Every model in the iPhone 14 series — 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.

The way Emergency SOS via satellite works is that if you are unable to reach emergency services due to no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage, an easy-to-use interface appears on the iPhone to help you using 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 quickly understand a user’s situation and location. 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 centres 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.