It’s been a year since Apple launched “Emergency SOS via Satellite” to the market. iPhone– and reports suggest this feature is already saving lives.
For example, after a car with two passengers went off the road in Los Angeles, an iPhone 14 in the vehicle recorded the accident (via the accident detection function which was also introduced with the 2022 models) and automatically contacted emergency services via satellite connection. , as there was no Wi-Fi or mobile data available.
Apple says it’s intended for “exceptional circumstances when no other means of reaching emergency services is available.” When you’re in trouble and can’t get a Wi-Fi signal or lock down a cell tower, your iPhone 14 will contact a satellite and send your call for help that way.
Be careful though, this is not a backup Internet connection for personal use. The satellite connection is slow and limited, and is really only suitable for transmitting key information about your situation: where you are, what condition you are in, and what you need help with.
Unfortunately, you need a recent version of the Apple smartphone, the iPhone 14 or 15, to use Emergency SOS via satellite. While the company hasn’t revealed the long-term price of this critical feature, it’s free for two years when you activate a compatible device. Apple recently announced that it would offer iPhone 14 owners who previously enabled the feature another year of free access.
How does emergency SOS via satellite work?
Satellite Emergency SOS is only available when you are in an area without Wi-Fi or cellular coverage. Otherwise, you can contact emergency services or your trusted contacts in the normal way. Ideally, you need a clear view of the sky and horizon, as obstructions like foliage and mountains can slow down or even block your satellite connection.