Some iPhone users can now access Apple’s new Emergency SOS mode, alerting emergency services of an issue even without cellular service or Wi-Fi.
Emergency SOS via satellite is available today to customers in the US and Canada, though it only works with the various iPhone 14 models. The feature taps a network of satellites, uses Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs)—or emergency services call centers—and is not tethered to cellular networks or wireless networks.
Here’s how it works. If you wander off the grid and find yourself in a prickly situation, opening up the app lets you message emergency services and automatically sends them location data so they can scoop you up and give you a warm mug of tea and a blanket. Additionally, the satellite-based technology extends to the Find My app, allowing you to share your location with friends and family without needing standard coverage.
Apple warns customers that satellites move quickly, have low bandwidth, and are located thousands of miles from Earth. In other words, getting a message through will not be instantaneous and will likely take a few minutes.
“With Emergency SOS via satellite, the iPhone 14 lineup provides an indispensable tool that can get users the help they need while they are off the grid,” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said in the press release.
The service is currently only available to customers in the United States and Canada but is coming to France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK in December.