Apple launches Emergency SOS feature – here’s how to use it

Apple is rolling out its new Emergency SOS safety service for iPhone 14 users in the U.S. and Canada. 

Its tech enables users to message emergency services via satellite while outside the range of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage.

In addition, Apple said in a release that users can now share their location with family and friends via satellite. 

That ability will be made available to France, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom in December. 

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The update allows emergency call centers to connect with more users. It also requires no additional software or protocols to enable communications.

How does it work?

An interface appears on the “off the grid” iPhone to get the user help utilizing a satellite connection ahead of a short questionnaire which is dispatched in the initial message. 

Apple said it worked closely with experts to review standard questions and protocols to identify the most common reasons for calling emergency services.

Next, the interface guides the user to where to point the phone and sends the initial message, including the questionnaire responses, location, altitude, Medical ID — if enabled — and iPhone battery level.

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The 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. 

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That transcript can also be shared with the user’s emergency contacts.

“With Emergency SOS via satellite, users can send and receive messages in as little as 15 seconds in clear conditions. Using the built-in Emergency SOS via satellite demo, users can test satellite connectivity on their iPhone by connecting to a real satellite in range without calling emergency services, allowing them to experience the process and familiarize themselves with the service,” Apple said.

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