Apple Emergency SOS via Satellite goes live in the US and Canada
Emergency SOS via Satellite is live. (Source: Apple)
Emergency SOS via Satellite is live. (Source: Apple)

Apple has announced that the Emergency SOS via satellite feature exclusive to iPhones of the latest 14 series is now available – albeit in North America only. The Cupertino giant asserts that it should prove a new last resort should its customers be out of range of cell towers. It can also be used to share a device’s location in the Find My app.

Apple asserts that the new iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max can keep its users prepared for an emergency with the 2022 mobile devices’ cutting-edge satellite connectivity. The all-new feature has gone live today (November 16, 2022).

The Cupertino-based behemoth claims to have invested US$450 million of its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to get its latest iPhones compatible with the service set up with the help of Globalstar. 24 of that company’s low-orbit satellites maintain the signal in question in a spectrum among the L- and S-bands intended for mobile devices.

Despite all this, Apple concedes that even thin tree cover might block the signal should an iPhone user need it for its main capability, which is to text an emergency service in the total absence of mobile data or Wi-Fi. The OEM recommends that the user have a clear view of the sky and horizon instead, and follow the instructions on screen (which, hopefully, would be possible in extremity.

Once an Emergency SOS via Satellite connection has been made, the user will need to carry on an SMS conversation that may involve filling in medical IDs, the medical status of whoever is in jeopardy and emergency contacts, if applicable.

On that note, Apple has announced that Emergency SOS via Satellite can also be used to keep an emergency contact, as specified in the Health app, updated on a user’s whereabouts if necessary. The company asserts that all location or personal information supplied while using the service is safeguarded through measures such as end-to-end encryption.

The Emergency SOS via Satellite should be available from now on iPhone 14-series devices running iOS 1.6.1 in the US or Canada. The update allows a user to test the service out in a demo mode rather than contact real first responders without need.

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Deirdre O’Donnell, 2022-11-15 (Update: 2022-11-15)