The feature aims to help iPhone owners in emergencies by letting them send messages (but not make traditional phone calls) to emergency services when cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity isn’t an option. After you try and fail to call emergency services the traditional way, the iPhone 14 will prompt you to “Report an Emergency” and present you with a questionnaire to collect information about your situation. Survey responses will be sent along with your location, elevation, iPhone battery level, and your medical ID (if available). There is also the option to notify your emergency contacts.
“The feature allows emergency services to be alerted when previously not possible and to do their job better, also thanks to the first information that can be shared with dispatchers, such as location and essential details about the emergency,” said John Anthony, the chairman from the British Association of Public Safety Communications Officials. “Ultimately, this will help save lives.”
Emergency SOS via satellite worked well when we tried it out for ourselves last month, although we were in a park in Brooklyn rather than the wilderness. Please note that messages may take a minute or more to send depending on the signal between your phone and satellite. It is also possible to share your location via satellite with friends and family using the Find My app in non-emergency situations.
Apple says it will roll out Emergency SOS via satellite in more countries next year. Two years of the service are included for free with the purchase of a compatible iPhone 14 (including the 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max), though it’s currently unclear how much it will cost once those two years are up. If you want to try it out, but don’t have an emergency right now, there’s one demo mode you can use to familiarize yourself with the function.