Apple's iPhone 14 series debuted with the Emergency SOS via satellite feature. This crucial feature was released in the USA and Canada initially, but there are plans to have it arrive in other countries later. NextPit shows how you can use and activate emergency SOS via satellite on compatible iPhones.
For those who do not know what Emergency SOS via satellite means, it is simple: on the iPhone 14, it allows users to contact emergency responders if there is no available cellular or Wi-Fi coverage in the area. This is enabled through a new chip that connects to low-orbit satellites. In this guide, our team simulated a test while in Hawaii during the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 official release event.
Last but not least: to use this feature on your iPhone, first, you need to be in a country where the service is readily available. Secondly, your iPhone should be supported. All iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models come with this feature. More importantly, you need to be outside to have a direct connection to a satellite.
Hopefully, you found this tutorial long before you needed it. The first thing you need to know, is that you cannot test the feature via a made-up call. However, Apple has anticipated this and created a demo right in iOS 16 so that you can familiarize yourself with the steps.
Therefore, in the following steps we share with you how to access the demo that explains how the Emergency SOS via satellite feature works, so you will know how to act in case of necessity:
- First, open the Settings app.
- Navigate to Emergency SOS.
- Scroll down to Emergency SOS via satellite.
- Tap Try Demo.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to connect to a satellite.
Once connected to a satellite, you can familiarize yourself with the interface and functions such as describing the scene and sharing your location. Setting up medical IDs and emergency contacts from the settings beforehand can also assist the responders by streamlining the process.
Emergency SOS via satellite in action: Sharing location, medical ID and more
In an actual situation, you don't need to follow the steps provided. Emergency SOS will prioritize cellular and Wi-Fi calling and only initiate satellite connection when the first two are not available via an Emergency Text via Satellite button on a call screen.
For the actual case of using this feature, the user interface you will see will look very much like the one we show in the images shared by Apple below, and you must follow these steps:
- Initiate a call to the emergency services even if your normal cellular carrier network isn't available.
- As your call won't connect, tap on Emergency Text via Satellite button. (It's also possible to go directly to Messages app and text 911 or SOS.)
- Tap Report Emergency.
- The system now will offer a bunch of options and you should choose the answers that most apply to your situation by using simple taps.
- Important: you can also choose to notify your emergency contacts that you contacted emergency services, along with your location and the nature of your emergency.
- Then, continue following the onscreen instructions to stay connected while you send your message to emergency services.
When it comes to your privacy, Apple informs that the text messaging service with Emergency SOS via satellite is encrypted, but is also "decrypted by Apple to be passed along to the relevant emergency services dispatcher, or the emergency relay center." In addition, Apple also clarifies that the messages may be retained by emergency service centers and the relay provider to improve their services.
Which country offers the iPhone emergency SOS via satellite connectivity
Apple launched this satellite connectivity in the USA and Canada earlier this month. It was scheduled to be included alongside iPhone 14 devices to additional countries like the UK and Germany this December 2022. Here's the full list of countries where iPhone emergency SOS via satellite is (will be) available:
|USA||November 15, 2022|
|Canada||November 15, 2022|
|Germany||December 13, 2022|
|France||December 13, 2022|
|UK||December 13, 2022|
|Ireland||December 13, 2022|
|Italy||March 27, 2023|
|Austria||March 27, 2023|
|The Netherlands||March 27, 2023|
|Luxembourg||March 27, 2023|
|Belgium||March 27, 2023|
|Portugal||March 27, 2023|
It's also relevant to notice that only Latin characters (such as English or French) are supported in these messages. And until November 29, the service only supported American English, American Spanish, and Canadian French.
How much does it cost to use emergency SOS via satellite?
Right now, the satellite connectivity feature is available for free on any iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models. You get a two-year free service beginning from your device activation. Apple has not yet disclosed just how much it will charge users once the free period expires.
Apart from messaging, it remains unclear whether Apple will add new features like sending images similar to what Samsung is planning to announce on the Galaxy S23. What other functions do you think Apple should add to keep improving the Emergency SOS via satellite?