Apple has announced that the latest iPhone 14 feature, Emergency SOS via satellite, is now available to users in the US and Canada. Here’s everything you need to know.
Do I need an iPhone 14 to use Emergency SOS via satellite?
Yes, the feature is only for iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. It is not available on any other device, including the latest iPad Pros or Apple Watch Ultra.
Do I need to download something to get it to work?
Apple just says you need to use iOS 16.1, which was released on Monday, October 25. You can update to iOS 16.1 in the Settings app by going to General and Software update.
Is there a fee to use it?
Not at the beginning. Apple offers two years of service to anyone who purchases an iPhone 14 from the moment of activation.
What happens after two years?
It is unclear. There will probably be a charge, but we don’t know what it will be or who you will pay.
Do I need to enable something?
The service is automatically activated when you try to contact 911 and cell service is not available.
How does Emergency SOS via satellite work?
If a 911 call fails, an “Emergency Text via Satellite SOS” icon will appear in the lower-right corner of your iPhone’s screen. Tap it and you will be prompted to explain your emergency through a series of five multiple choice questions. Next, you’ll see a satellite animation screen asking you to point your iPhone toward the nearest satellite to send and receive a message.
What if I am out of range of the satellite?
Your iPhone will buzz to warn you to move it to a new position.
How long does it take to send the message?
Differs. Apple says, “Satellites move fast, have low bandwidth, and are thousands of miles from Earth, so it can take a few minutes for even short messages to get through.” In The Verge’s hands-on with the feature, the entire process took between three and five minutes.
Am I talking to someone?
No, Emergency SOS via satellite is text only.
Can I try it?
Yes, go to Settings > Emergency SOS > Emergency SOS via satellite > Try demo to fully test the function.
Will Emergency SOS come to other countries via satellite?
Apple says the feature will be available in France, Germany, Ireland and the UK in December.