The iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature is now available in the UK, France, and Germany and this safety tool could be the difference between life and death for some people.
After a brief period of exclusivity to the US and Canada, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature is rolling out to new regions. Now users in the UK, France, and Germany will be able to communicate with emergency services via satellite communications – allowing them to get emergency help even in areas where they have no phone signal.
When you’re outside and without any cell service, you’ll see ‘SOS’ in the top corner of your iPhone 14’s screen – next to the battery icon and an image of a satellite. When these symbols are visible if you dial the countries’ emergency phone number (999 in the UK) you’ll be given the option to “Emergency Text via Satellite.”
Note: just as you shouldn’t dial 999 for no reason, don’t use this emergency feature unless you need it.
If you do use the Emergency Text tool, you’ll see a button to “Report Emergency.” Tapping it will take you through a series of menus as you detail the danger you are in. The short questionnaire you’re asked to complete is designed to give first responders the critical information they need to help you; though you will also be able to send text messages to provide them with more exact details as requested. On top of that, the system can send a copy of this conversation to your emergency contacts so you can alert them that you’re in danger and keep them informed about your situation.
All the while your phone will be instructing you on how to hold it so that it stays connected to the satellite orbiting above you.
While Apple has warned that this service won’t be as quick and easy as actually dialing 999 – the messages will take longer to send for example – Emergency SOS via Satellite is nevertheless an incredible safety feature.
The best iPhone feature we hope we never need
On a summertime trek up to the source of the River Severn in Wales with my girlfriend, we noticed that we almost never had any phone signal. Every time we pulled out our handsets to take a snap of the surrounding beauty, we saw that our reception was an ominous zero bars.
While the walk wasn’t dangerous by any means the risk of injuring ourselves was never zero. And if one of us had ended up needing emergency help – as unlikely as that was – there would have been no easy way to get it. The uninjured one of us would do the best first aid they could and then we’d have to hope that a patch of signal or some friendly hikers were nearby.
In this hypothetical emergency situation, a tool like the iPhone 14’s satellite communication feature could be a lifesaver. Rather than having to risk moving the injured person or leaving them alone to call for help (things you should try to avoid if you can) you could stay with them and use the satellite phone connection to message for assistance.
This is a feature that you'll hopefully never have to use. Still, by including it in the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro, Apple is giving users an additional safety net that rival handsets currently aren't. We expect we'll see many of the best Android phones introduce something similar in the next couple of years, but for now (if safety is something you value above everything else) the iPhone 14 looks like the best phone out there for you right now.
Hands on with Apple Emergency SOS via Satellite
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.