Apple’s groundbreaking safety service Emergency SOS via satellite is available starting today for customers in France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK. Available on all iPhone 14 models, the innovative technology enables users to message with emergency services while outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage. Additionally, if users want to reassure friends and family of their whereabouts while traveling in an area with no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage, they can now open the Find My app and share their location via satellite.
Every 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-designed components and deeply integrated software. Emergency SOS via satellite builds on existing features vital to iPhone users, including Emergency SOS, Medical ID, emergency contacts, and Find My location sharing, offering the ability to connect to a satellite to share critical information with emergency services, family, and friends. This game-changing service connects users to relay centres staffed with Apple-trained emergency specialists who are ready to contact Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) — or emergency services call centres — on the user’s behalf to get them the help they need.
“Emergency SOS via satellite makes emergency communications over satellite more accessible, which is very exciting,” said Gary Machado, the European Emergency Number Association’s CEO. “In practice, it means that many more people will be able to contact 112 when they have no mobile coverage and need urgent assistance. We are confident that this will save many lives and offer significant help to emergency services dealing with these often very complicated rescues.”
“Being able to use a satellite connection to contact 999 or 112 if there is no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is a breakthrough that Apple has brought to the general public with iPhone 14,” said John Anthony, the British Association of Public Safety Communications Officials’ president. “The feature will mean that emergency services can be alerted when it was not previously possible and are then able to do their jobs to better effect, in part because of the initial information that can be shared with dispatchers, such as location and essential details about the emergency. Ultimately, this will help save lives.”
How Emergency SOS via Satellite Works
iPhone can already quickly and easily call emergency services if a user is in need of help, even if they are unable to dial 112, with a long press on the power and volume buttons, or by rapidly pressing the power button five times. With Emergency SOS via satellite — introduced with the iPhone 14 lineup — if a user is not able to reach emergency services because no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is available, an easy-to-use interface appears on iPhone to get the user help utilizing a satellite connection. A short questionnaire appears to help the user answer vital questions with a few simple taps, which is transmitted to dispatchers in the initial message, to ensure they are able to 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.
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 relay centres 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.