Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite is now available in Australia and New Zealand for customers with any of the iPhone 14 models so they can contact emergency services outside of cellular and wi-fi range.
It’s now also possible for users to share their location while travelling via the Find My app when they have no cellular signal or wi-fi.
This feature will only work with any of the iPhone 14 range at this time – iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max – which have custom-designed hardware and software to connect directly to a satellite.
Users can now connect with emergency services and a family and friends when no other coverage is available.
The service connects with relay centres staffed by Apple-trained emergency specialists who can contact Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) or emergency call centres on the user’s behalf.
Emergency SOS via satellite is already available in 12 other countries. Australia and New Zealand now join Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, UK and US.
The service is free for two years following activation of your iPhone 14 model.
“The Albanese government welcomes the launch of this innovative safety capability. Australians know full well the importance of remaining connected in regional, rural, and remote areas, particularly when they need emergency services,” says the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, Minister for Communications.
“The ability to contact Triple Zero with Emergency SOS via satellite when there is no mobile coverage is a strong backup to keep Australians connected in an emergency.
“This will go a long way in helping emergency services respond to, protect, and ultimately, keep individuals safe from harm.
“Australians are encouraged to familiarise themselves with this feature and whether their device supports it.”
Here’s how Apple’s Emergency SOS via Satellite works:
– If a user with an iPhone 14 is in need to help and can’t dial 000, they can press and hold the side power button with one of the volume buttons until the Emergency SOS slider appears.
– An interface appears to guide the user to establish a satellite connection.
– A short questionnaire can be completed with a few taps to understand the user’s situation including whether it’s a car/vehicle situation, sickness or injury, a crime, if you’re lost or trapped or near a fire.
– It will also ask who needs help – you, someone else or a group of people and if anyone is injured.
– Users can also explain their situation – are they stranded, trapped, lost or other – and whether they are in steep terrain, in water or a cave.
– Users are then guided where to point their iPhone 14 towards the sky to link with a satellite and connect to send the initial message which will include their questionnaire responses.
It can take a few minutes to establish a connection because satellites move fast about a thousand kilometres above the earth.
Onboard the iPhone 14 are custom designed components which can connect to a satellite without the need for a bulky antenna.
An algorithm also comes into play to compress a text message to make it three times smaller to speed up the experience.
In clear conditions, Emergency SOS via satellite can work in as little as 15 seconds.
Users can see a demo of the service and connect with a satellite in real time on their iPhone 14 without contacting emergency services.
Emergency SOS via satellite can also be used outside of emergency situations to share their location via satellite with Find My so loved ones can see where they are on the Find My app.
This feature on the iPhone 14 also works with other safety features available on iPhone and Apple Watch, including Crash Detection and Fall Detection.