Advanced Television

Apple iPhone’s SOS service goes live

November 16, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Apple iPhone 14 owners in the US and Canada can now use their phone’s Text-based satellite SOS service when they are in uninhabited or dead zones as far as cellular or WiFi connectivity is concerned.

In the event of an emergency their phone can send a Text message to one of 24 orbiting Globalstar satellites which retransmits the signal to ground handlers. The cost of the service is free to users for the next two years.

Apple says that users should anticipate a delay of around 15 seconds to make a connection with a satellite, and longer if they are in a mountainous or forest location.

In December the emergency service will extend to much of Europe including the UK, France, Ireland and Germany.

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s SVP/Worldwide Marketing, said: ‘Some of the most popular places to travel are off the beaten path and simply lack cellular coverage. With Emergency SOS via satellite, the iPhone 14 line-up provides an indispensable tool that can get users the help they need while they are off the grid.”

The service is available to the complete iPhone 14 range including the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Users are told to point their phone towards the sky and answer an on-screen message which asks the type of emergency (car/vehicle, sickness/injury, crime, lost, trapped or fire) and the number of people involved.

The questionnaire and follow-up messages are relayed directly via satellite to dispatchers that accept text messages, or to relay centres staffed by Apple‑trained specialists who can call for help on the user’s behalf. The transcript can also be shared with the user’s emergency contacts to keep them informed.

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