November 15, 2022
Satellite Emergency SOS is available today for the iPhone 14 series in the US and Canada
iPhone 14 users can now connect to emergency services when cellular and Wi-Fi coverage are unavailable; The service extends to France, Germany, Ireland and the UK in December
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA Apple today announced that its breakthrough security service, Emergency SOS via satellite, is now available to customers in the United States and Canada. The innovative technology, available on all iPhone 14 models, allows users to send messages with emergency services while outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage. Additionally, if users want to update friends and family about their whereabouts while traveling off-grid, they can now open the Find My app and share their location via satellite. Emergency SOS via satellite is available in the US and Canada starting today, November 15, and will be available in France, Germany, Ireland and the UK in December.
“Some of the most popular travel destinations are off the beaten track and simply lack cell phone coverage. With Emergency SOS via Satellite, the iPhone 14 lineup offers an essential tool to help users get the help they need when they’re offline,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Our teams have worked tirelessly to solve a series of new technical challenges to bring this service to life, in addition to building a reliable on-site infrastructure. Satellite Emergency SOS is a groundbreaking service, only available on the iPhone 14 range, and a new innovation that we hope will give our customers a little peace of mind.”
Each 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 components and deeply integrated software. Emergency SOS via Satellite builds on existing features critical to iPhone users, including Emergency SOS, Medical ID, Emergency Contacts, and Find My Location Sharing, and offers the ability to connect to a satellite for a 360-degree Grad approach to sharing critical information with emergency services, family and friends. This groundbreaking service enables public safety answering points – or emergency service call centers – to connect to even more users in emergency situations, and requires no additional software or protocols to enable communication. Users are connected directly to emergency services equipped to receive text messages, or to relay centers with Apple-trained emergency specialists ready to contact emergency operators unable to receive text messages on the user’s behalf.
“The delivery of emergency SOS via satellite is a major breakthrough that will save lives. Apple’s critical work in developing innovative new solutions to support 911 providers and first responders is a huge step forward in protecting Californians and the general public during emergency situations,” said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
This is how emergency call SOS works via satellite
iPhone can quickly and easily call emergency services when a user needs help, even if they’re unable to dial 911. With Emergency SOS via Satellite – introduced with the iPhone 14 series – if a user cannot reach emergency services because cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is unavailable, a user-friendly interface will appear on the iPhone to help the user with to give the use of a satellite connection. A short questionnaire appears to help the user answer key questions with a few simple touches, which are sent in the first message to dispatchers to ensure they can 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.
After the questionnaire, the intuitive interface guides the user where to point their iPhone to connect and sends the first message. This message contains the user’s questionnaire responses; location, including altitude; iPhone battery charge level; and Medical ID if enabled. The questionnaire and follow-up messages are routed directly via satellite to dispatchers who 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 updated.1
“We dedicate our lives to helping those in need, but inevitably there are people who can’t reach a dispatcher. Satellite emergency SOS will allow us to serve iPhone users in more remote areas who might not otherwise be able to reach us,” said Jennifer Kirkland, ENP, 911 dispatcher at the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center. “Because this service requires no additional technology for 911 operators, and because Apple has implemented a relay center model that 911 operators are familiar with, we can expect a seamless rollout for both 911 operators who accept text messages and those who who still use voice messaging – only.”
Satellites are fast-moving, have low bandwidth and are thousands of kilometers from Earth, so it can take a few minutes for even short messages to get through. Apple designed and built custom components and software that allow the iPhone 14 to lock onto a satellite’s unique frequencies without a bulky antenna. A text compression algorithm was also developed to reduce the average size of messages by 300 percent and make the experience as fast as possible. With Emergency SOS via Satellite, users can send and receive messages in just 15 seconds in clear conditions.2 The built-in Emergency SOS via Satellite Demo allows users to test satellite connectivity on their iPhone by connecting to a real satellite within range without calling emergency services, allowing them to experience the process and become familiar with the service.
“Emergency SOS via satellite will be useful not only for those living in rural areas without cellphone coverage, but also for those on the path of a natural disaster that shuts down cellphone networks. It will allow members in affected communities to contact 911 and get help, and that’s our mission,” said Laurene Anderson, NENA: President of the 9-1-1 Association and E911 Manager of Charlotte County, Florida . “Awareness and education will be key to the seamless rollout of this service. What Apple is doing to get the word out among dispatchers and get the community practicing with a demo mode that doesn’t call 911 will help everyone know what to do when an emergency arises.”
For users who are taken offline but not experiencing an emergency, this advanced technology also allows them to share their location via satellite with Find My. In the Find My app, users can open the Me tab, swipe up to see My Location by Satellite, and tap Send My Location. The iPhone 14 series’ satellite connection also works with other security features available on iPhone and Apple Watch, including crash detection and fall detection.3
- Emergency SOS via satellite and Find My via satellite are available today in the US and Canadaand will be available in France, Germany, Irelandand the United Kingdom In December. The service is included free for two years from the time you activate a new iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.4
- Emergency SOS via satellite and Find My via satellite require iOS 16.1.
Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple is the world leader in innovation with the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s five software platforms – iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS – offer seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with groundbreaking services like the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are committed to making the best products in the world and leaving the world better than we found it.
- Up to 10 emergency contacts using iOS 16.1 and iMessage will see the user’s location, the nature of the emergency, and a live transcript of their conversation with emergency services. Emergency contacts not on iPhone and iPhone users not using iOS 16.1 or iMessage will see the user’s location and the nature of the emergency. At any time, the user may choose to stop providing their information to an emergency contact. Location information is also shared with Apple to reach the relay center or dispatcher closest to the user.
- Connection and response times vary based on location, site conditions, and other factors. See support.apple.com/kb/HT213426 for more informations.
- A connected iPhone 14 model with iOS 16.1 is required to access a satellite link with Crash Detection and Fall Detection on Apple Watch.
- Users who purchased an iPhone 14 model before the Emergency SOS via satellite availability date will receive the service free of charge for two years from the service availability date.
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