How to use SOS emergency satellite on iPhone 14

4 weeks ago

One of New features coming with iPhone 14 phones in September 2022 is a feature that Apple calls Emergency SOS via Satellite, and that name tells you just about everything you need to know.

Apple says it is for “exceptional circumstances where there are no other ways to contact emergency services.” When you’re in trouble and can’t get a Wi-Fi signal or block a cell tower, your iPhone 14 will connect to the satellite and thus send your request for help.

Keep in mind, however, that this is not a backup internet connection for personal use. Satellite communications are slow and limited, and are only good for relaying key information about your situation: where you are, what condition you are in, and what help you need.

To use the satellite SOS emergency call feature, you need an iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, or iPhone 14 Pro Max. Apple hasn’t discussed long-term pricing yet, but has made the service free for two years with the purchase of a compatible device.

How emergency SOS via satellite works

The service sends key information to emergency services.

Courtesy of Apple

Emergency SOS via satellite only becomes available when you are in an area where there is no Wi-Fi or cellular coverage – otherwise, you are expected to be able to reach emergency services or your trusted contacts in the normal way. Ideally, you want a clear view of the sky and horizon, as obstacles like foliage and mountains can slow down or even block your satellite connection.

Even in ideal conditions with the best satellite fix, it can take 15 seconds for messages to be sent. It may sound primitive, but there’s a lot of impressive technology here – not least the way Apple has built satellite communications into something as slick as the iPhone 14. (Look at the size of a typical satellite phone to see what we mean.)

As you would like in a stressful emergency, your phone will guide you through everything you need to do, including moving your iPhone so it stays locked to the satellite. (This can be done even when the phone itself is locked.) This feature works in conjunction with other security settings on iPhone so you can send information to emergency services, such as from the Medical ID section of the Health app.

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