Apple's satellite-driven Emergency SOS service is just about here—as long as you have an iPhone 14.
There were early rumblings of the next iPhone utilizing satellite communications, which Apple later confirmed, but now Emergency SOS via Satellite is almost ready to go live. Emergency SOS itself isn’t a new feature, and it’s not the first time an iPhone has been supported by satellites, but this is the first time both elements have come together. The result of that combination is something Apple—and partner Globalstar, which is supplying the satellites—believes will save lives.
Once available, iPhone 14 users who are in a dire situation (without a strong enough signal to call for help) can use their phone to make an Emergency SOS request. That message will be picked up by one of Globalstar's satellites, rerouted to one of its Earth-bound ground stations, and then sent to nearby emergency services or an Apple emergency specialist.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are limitations to using satellites, and depending on the situations you may find yourself in, it still might take some effort to make a connection. It might not work above 62 degrees latitude (i.e., some areas of northern Canada or Alaska), and it requires a fairly clear line of sight to the sky. Mountains, dense foliage, trees, and other potential obstructions could delay, disrupt, or even block a signal from reaching one of Globalstar’s satellites.
Emergency SOS via Satellite will roll out through an iOS 16 update later this month, but it's only available for iPhone 14 models. It's also currently limited to the United States (including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) and Canada, with no indication of whether or not the service will expand into other regions in the future.