When Apple had announced the iPhone 14 series back in September this year, it had announced a special feature called ‘Emergency SOS via Satellite’ that will be exclusively on the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max and allow users to send a text message to emergency services when they are out of cellular Wi-Fi coverage. This feature used satellite communication, previously available only on special sat-comm phones, for enabling users to send the message while they were out of network coverage. At the time, the company had announced that this feature will be available on the supported iPhone models, that is, the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max later this year. Now, the company has taken a major step in the direction of introducing the feature. Also Read - Samsung plans to make fingerprint login 2.5 billion times safer: Here's how
Apple today announced that it has made an investment of $450 million via its Advanced Manufacturing Fund that will go towards providing the critical infrastructure that will support its Emergency SOS via satellite on the iPhone 14 Pro models. Also Read - Apple's new iOS update will make viewing old notifications easier
Furthermore, the company said that a majority of this funding will go to Globalstar, which is a global satellite service headquartered in Covington, Louisiana in the US. The investment will help the company to provide critical enhancements to its satellite network and ground stations, ensuring iPhone 14 users are able to connect to emergency services when off the grid. At Globalstar, more than 300 employees will work towards supporting Apple’s new feature. Also Read - Google starts rolling out end-to-end encryption to group chats in Messages
How will Apple’s ‘Emergency SOS via Satellite’ feature work
Apple, in an official blog post explained that when an iPhone user will make an Emergency SOS via satellite request, the message will be received by one of Globalstar’s 24 satellites in low-earth orbit (LEO) traveling at speeds of approximately 16,000 mph. The satellite will then send a message down to custom ground stations located at key points all over the world.
Once received by a ground station, the message will be routed to emergency services that can dispatch help, or a relay center with Apple-trained emergency specialists if local emergency services cannot receive text messages.
“With upgraded ground stations, and soon an updated satellite constellation, Apple and Globalstar will ensure the spectrum continues to enable emergency services,” Apple wrote in a blog post.
Apple also said that in addition to communicating via text with emergency services, iPhone users can launch their Find My app and share their location via satellite when there is no cellular and Wi-Fi connection, providing a sense of security when off the typical communications grid.
This feature will be rolled out to iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max users via an update later this month.
How to use iPhone 14 Pro’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature
Step 1: First, try calling emergency services. Even if your normal cellular carrier network isn’t available, you might be able to make the call.
Step 2: If your call won’t connect, you can text emergency services via satellite:
— Tap Emergency Text via Satellite.
— You can also go to Messages to text 911 or SOS, then tap Emergency Services.
Step 3: Tap Report Emergency.
Step 4: Using simple taps, answer the emergency questions to best describe your situation.
Step 5: You can also choose to notify your emergency contacts that you contacted emergency services, along with your location and the nature of your emergency.
Step 6: To connect to a satellite, follow the onscreen instructions.
Step 7: After you are connected, continue following the onscreen instructions to stay connected while you send your message to emergency services.
Apple says that once you are connected, your iPhone will start a text conversation with emergency responders by sharing critical information like your Medical ID and emergency contact information, the emergency questionnaire answers, your location (including elevation), and remaining battery life for your iPhone.
The company cautions that while using a satellite connection, it might take about 15 seconds to send a message when users have a clear view of the sky. Through trees with light or medium foliage, it might take users over a minute to connect to the satellite.