If you had watched Apple’s September event where they showed off the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro lineup, you probably might’ve noticed that a large chunk of their promotional material surrounded their new safety features like Emergency SOS via Satellite feature. It wasn’t ready in time for the launch, but Cupertino has since confirmed that it’ll be ready for users of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro series in the US and Canada by the end of the month.
In case you missed it, Emergency SOS via Satellite is basically their emergency messaging tool that works via communication satellites. This means that in the event of an emergency situation and you’re also somehow without any cellular signal or WiFi connection, you can still send a message to others to ask for help. When it opens up, your iPhone 14 will start querying you about your situation, and then guide you on how to get your phone pointing towards a satellite. This will let you share a quick message and your location too via Find My in less than 15 seconds.
Emergency SOS via Satellite will be free for the first two years, and is the result of a USD450 million investment from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund. Apple also worked with American satellite communications company Globalstar for this project, which will see over 300 Globalstar employees working towards supporting Emergency SOS via Satellite. Apple and Globalstar installed new Apple-designed antennas all over the world in a bid to increase reliability and coverage.
Whenever you use the safety feature, the message is received by one of Globalstar’s 24 low-earth orbit satellites. It then sends the message back down to ground stations located all over the world. Your SOS message is then passed on to emergency services to that they can get help to you as soon as possible.
“Emergency SOS via satellite is a perfect example of how American ingenuity and technology can save lives. We are proud this service is enabled by leading US companies, and that our users can explore off-the-grid areas knowing they are still within reach of emergency services if they are in need,” Jeff Williams, Apple chief operating officer
Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t mentioned anything just yet about bringing this safety feature to other countries such as Malaysia, and considering the huge investment Cupertino had to make just to get it to work in the US and Canada, it might be awhile longer before we get to fully make use of this feature.