Starting today, iPhone 14 owners in the US and Canada can use the Emergency SOS feature via satellite. Starting next month, the new feature will also launch in France, Germany, Ireland and the UK. With the emergency SOS function, you can send emergency calls in areas without mobile phone or WLAN access. Be it far out in the wilderness or in the middle of the city after a natural disaster has shut down the power grid and communications network.
The emergency questionnaire ensures that first responders have all the important information
The emergency SOS function works in such a way that you first answer a short questionnaire with important information. What type of emergency you have, how many people need assistance, and additional details. The case is then sent directly to emergency services who may receive text messages. Alternatively, the information goes to one of the Apple headquarters, which then calls the nearest emergency service.
One can also send and receive additional messages to clarify the situation and help the rescuers. Since satellite connections have low bandwidth, Apple has developed a compression that compresses text by 300%. An iPhone 14 takes about 15 seconds to transmit a message. If you don’t have a clear view of the sky, the connection will be delayed.
The iPhone 14 will suggest emergency SOS via satellite if the emergency call 911 is unavailable
In addition to the questionnaire, the iPhone can also transmit the Medial ID, provided this has been set up. Various health conditions, such as allergies to certain medications, are stored in the ID so that first responders can immediately look for possible problems. You can also save up to ten emergency iMessage contacts that will receive a copy of the emergency message.
The iPhone guides the user through the process of connecting to a satellite, which requires some manual aiming. There is also a demo mode to practice in for emergencies.
Share location by satellite in Find My
You can also use the satellite connection without an emergency to share your location with friends or family with a new Find My feature. That and Emergency SOS are available on all four models: the iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Satellite features require iOS 16.1 or later. Models purchased in China, Hong Kong or Macau do not support the functions. Also, they may not work above the 62nd parallel. More details are available here.
Anyone who bought their iPhone 14 before the launch of the satellite SOS service will get the service for two years free of charge. It is not clear yet how much the subscription will cost afterwards.