Using the Emergency SOS feature via satellite is a great way to contact someone in case of an emergency. However, you have to be careful about the limitations of the feature.
Test if your phone has the feature
During an emergency, your iPhone may ask you questions regarding your location and status. The new Emergency SOS feature from Apple will allow you to send a message to emergency responders from outside of cellular coverage. In the United States and Canada, this new feature is live today.
Emergency SOS works by connecting to a satellite above the earth. The satellite sends a message to emergency responders and ground stations worldwide. These messages are encrypted. Apple has partnered with Globalstar, a satellite service provider that has a proud history of saving lives.
The emergency SOS feature is designed for real emergencies. Apple has created a demo mode to let users test the service before an emergency. This mode allows you to test the emergency call and message features. If you don’t respond, your phone will repeat the message.
The Emergency SOS feature is designed to help you find emergency responders quickly. It uses the Find My location feature to update your location through a satellite.
Limitations of the feature
Designed to be useful in exceptional circumstances, the Emergency SOS via satellite feature is a new Apple service that will launch later this month. As part of the iPhone 14 series, the feature relies on a new wireless chipset and a partnership with Globalstar, a satellite service provider. It’s not available to international travelers or people who live in countries without cellular coverage.
Although the Emergency SOS via satellite is great for getting in touch with emergency services when you’re outdoors, there are some limitations. For example, the message will take up to a minute to reach your emergency contacts. Also, you can only receive text messages via the service if you’re in the United States or Canada.
The Emergency SOS via satellite also requires a new antenna. Apple funded the development of custom-built antennas and pledged $450 million to the satellite infrastructure.
Using the satellite service, you can text an emergency contact and ask for their location. You can also update your location using the Find My app.
How to share your location
Whether you’re traveling or spending time in the wilderness, an emergency SOS via satellite can be an effective tool. It is like texting with emergency responders, but with the added bonus of location sharing. You can send your location to emergency services, along with medical information, pictures, or a short audio recording.
Apple’s emergency SOS via satellite function was introduced with the iPhone 14 lineup in September. It’s free for the first two years. It’s available in the United States and Canada. However, it may not work in northern Canada or Alaska.
To activate Emergency SOS, you need to turn on Location Services. You can find this in Settings. You’ll also need to set up Emergency Contacts. If you don’t have Emergency Contacts, you can create them in the Health app.
Emergency SOS will ask you to select a type of emergency. You can choose either a car breakdown, crime, or other type of accident. If you choose a car breakdown, you’ll be directed to find your location.
Using the Emergency SOS via satellite feature, you can send messages to emergency services in places where cellular reception is not available. The system is powered by satellite connectivity and uses end-to-end encryption. All data sent is encrypted while in transit and then decrypted by Apple for the appropriate authority. This means that your messages cannot be viewed by unintended people.
The Emergency SOS via satellite feature works best in areas where there is a clear horizon and a direct view of the sky. Trees and dense foliage can slow the connection. However, if the sky is clear, the phone can send a message in 15 seconds.
The Emergency SOS via satellite feature is available in the United States and Canada. It is not yet available in other jurisdictions.
Emergency SOS via satellite works by sending messages to a small target in space. This target is 850 miles above the surface of the Earth. The message is encrypted in transit and then decrypted by the Apple Emergency SOS system for the appropriate authority. The message is then relayed to centers staffed by Apple-trained specialists.