Apple on Tuesday announced that its safety service Emergency SOS via satellite is now available to customers in the US and Canada.
Available on all iPhone 14 models, the 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 off the grid, they can now open the Find My app and share their location via satellite, the company said in a statement.
The Emergency SOS via satellite will come to France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK in December.
Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said that the feature “is a breakthrough service available only on the iPhone 14 lineup, and a new innovation that we hope will provide our customers some peace of mind.”
The service will be included for free for two years starting at the time of activation of a new iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Emergency SOS via satellite and Find My via satellite require iOS 16.1.
The emergency services call centres to connect to even more users in emergency situations, and requires no additional software or protocols to enable communications.
“Users will be connected directly to emergency services that are equipped to receive text messages, or to relay centres with Apple-trained emergency specialists who are ready to contact PSAPs that cannot receive text messages on the user’s behalf,” said Apple.
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 easy-to-use interface appears on iPhone to get the user help utilising 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 said it worked closely with experts to review standard questions and protocols to identify the most common reasons for calling emergency services.
“We dedicate our lives to helping people in need, but there are inevitably people who are not able to contact a dispatcher. Emergency SOS via satellite will allow us to help iPhone users in more remote areas who might not otherwise be able to reach us,” said Jennifer Kirkland, ENP, the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center’s 911 center manager.
With Emergency SOS via satellite, users can send and receive messages in as little as 15 seconds in clear conditions.