Apple’s Emergency SOS-via-satellite service went live in the US and Canada on Tuesday as promised. When they are in an area where traditional cellular services are not accessible, owners of Apple’s most recent iPhones can use the service to call emergency services or share their location and status with emergency contacts via satellite.
All of Apple’s most current flagship iPhone models, including the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max, are compatible with emergency SOS via satellite. There is no need for extra downloads because support for it was included in a recent iOS release.
You’ll be given a multiple-choice quiz after you launch Emergency SOS via satellite in an effort to gather important details about your predicament.
After filling it out, you’ll follow a guided procedure to position the phone so that the message may be sent to the satellite. Your survey results, location (including altitude), your iPhone’s current battery level, and your Medical ID, if it’s enabled, are all included in the message. A transcript can also be sent to your emergency contacts.
Since voice calls are not always practical with the satellites being used or in all circumstances, the functionality does not support voice calls. According to a blog post from Apple on the subject:
”Apple created and produced specialized hardware and software that enable iPhone 14 to connect to a satellite’s distinct frequencies without the use of a large antenna. To make the process as quick as possible, a text compression algorithm was created to reduce the average message size by 300 percent. Users can send and receive messages using Emergency SOS via satellite in as little as 15 seconds when the weather is clear.”
emergency satellite SOS Apple claims that its technology “uses the spectrum in the L and S bands specifically specified for mobile satellite services under ITU Radio Regulations.” It is transmitted to one of the 24 satellites managed by Globalstar, a US-based business that also runs multiple ground stations.
If the best response location is not set up to take text messages, the message will be forwarded to “Apple-trained emergency professionals” who will relay it to a nearby emergency call center called a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) or to another emergency call center if that one is.
As a preventative measure, you can also test satellite communication without actually contacting emergency services. The Find My app allows you to communicate your location with a contact through the satellite network.
After activating your new iPhone, Emergency SOS via satellite is free for two years, but after that, it will cost money. How to use the feature is covered in great detail in a support document by Apple.