Apple always introduces snazzy new features with their phone launches. This time though, they might have introduced a feature that sends customers to their nearest Apple Store ASAP. In November, the new Emergency SOS via satellite feature launches and turns the iPhone 14 models into true life-saving devices.
As Apple says in their video about the phones, emergencies can’t always wait for cell service. Emergency SOS via satellite addresses that problem.
If users are in an area without cell or wifi, their iPhone 14 will help them connect to satellite and emergency services for help. If users are in an area without cell access to emergency services, the message will go to an Apple relay center where trained specialists will place an emergency call to emergency services to send help.
To use the service, Apple says users need to be in an open space with a clear line of sight to the sky. Trees and buildings could impact connectivity. The company has compressed the messaging service to get messages sent faster than normal also.
You won’t be able to make a phone call with the service. Instead, Apple has front-loaded quick questions to assess the problem. Your phone guides you to the satellite. Emergency dispatchers receive your answers, location, and medical ID and respond via text to start a conversation and send help.
Users will also be able to use the connect to satellite feature to share their Find My location, which will help if they’re camping or hiking in a remote area.
Apple said iPhone 14 users will have free access to the connect via satellite service for two years. They have not announced anything about pricing after that.
Important to note: connect via satellite might not work in places above 62° latitude such as northern Canada and Alaska.
The service works in the US and Canada, and international travelers in the US and Canada can use the service unless they bought their iPhone 14 in China, Hong Kong, or Macao where the service isn’t offered.
This new safety feature could be a game changer in the cellphone wars. It’s nice that Apple is looking out for us and finding ways to use technology to make the world a safer place.