What if you’re in an emergency and you have no cell phone service? Well, Apple has solved this by finally releasing its much-anticipated new feature for iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices – Emergency SOS via satellite. The company has partnered with satellite communications company Globalstar to create the feature and uses satellite connectivity to put people in touch with local emergency dispatch centers if they are in an area with no cellular Wi-Fi coverage.
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How does Emergency SOS work?
If you find yourself in an emergency, your Apple 14 or Apple 14 Pro device will automatically ping one of Globalstar’s 24 low-orbit satellites. Once the satellite receives the signal, it sends information to one of its ground stations, which then routes the call to a local dispatch center or relay center. The relay centers have third-party and highly trained specialists from Apple who have been trained in emergency protocol to contact police dispatchers and relay information back and forth.
How do I activate Emergency SOS on my device?
The Emergency SOS feature is only to be activated when one is in an actual emergency in order not to alert the local police of a false incident. However, there is a demo feature for users to familiarize themselves with the process when they are not in an emergency.
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To try out the demo, make sure you are outside and go to: Settings > Emergency SOS > Demo Mode.
If you are in a real emergency and have no cellular Wi-Fi, the feature will automatically pop up on your screen when you try to dial 911. It appears as a green feature on the bottom right-hand corner, and it will read Emergency Text via Satellite. You’ll also notice a satellite icon and SOS text in the top right-hand corner of your screen next to your battery.
Once you click the green button, a short questionnaire will appear on your screen for you to answer so that the feature can best understand what kind of help you need.
Your answers are then quickly transmitted to dispatchers so that they can find out your situation and location and send help immediately. The questions are as follows.
Once you have answered all the questions, your iPhone will go to a follow-up screen which asks you: to point your phone in the direction of one of the Globalstar satellites. It will guide you in the proper direction, and once your device has located one of the satellites, all your information from the questionnaire is transmitted to the local dispatcher along with your location, altitude, iPhone battery level, and Medical ID if you have that enabled on your phone already.
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Once the information has been sent, users also have the option of keeping in contact with Emergency SOS via text message. Users can both send and receive messages in as little as 15 seconds. Apple also developed a text compression algorithm to shorten your texts by 3x so that the process can move as quickly as possible.
Can I share my location if I’m not in an emergency?
Yes, Emergency SOS has also made a feature for those who want to go off the grid but are not stuck in an emergency. Here’s how:
- Go to your Find My app
- Select the “Me” tab
- Swipe up to see My Location via Satellite
- Tap Send My Location.
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