Tech giant Apple has rolled out its emergency SOS via satellite for iPhone 14 users on Tuesday.
The emergency SOS via satellite allows users to text emergency services when they’re off the grid, whether camping in the mountains or driving in a remote area at night.
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.
Apple has not provided any indication if and when South Africa will be part of the service.
The emergency SOS via satellite service is available for iPhone 14 customers and is free for the first two years.
Here’s how it works:
- iPhone can quickly and easily call emergency services if a user is in need of help, even if they are unable to dial 911. With Emergency SOS via satellite, if a user is not able to reach emergency services because no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is available, an interface appears on iPhone to get the user help utilizing a satellite connection.
- A short questionnaire (which is transmitted to dispatchers in the initial message, to ensure they are able to quickly understand a user’s situation and location) appears to help the user answer vital questions with a few simple taps.
- Following the questionnaire, the intuitive interface guides the user 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 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 informed.
How to demo emergency SOS via satellite
To try out emergency SOS via satellite, Apple has a demo option.
- Tap Try Demo. You’ll then be led through the same prompts you would get in a real emergency. You’ll also be able to turn off your cell service and connect to a satellite so you can get a feel for it. You’ll get haptic feedback when you’re not pointing in the right direction.
For now, emergency SOS via satellite is only available in the U.S. and Canada.