Update: Emergency SOS via Satellite is now available on iPhone 14 devices in the UK, France, and Germany. The original story about its US and Canada launch continues below.
Original: Apple’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature is finally coming to the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro later this month (November 2022) – if you live in the US or Canada that is.
Every iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro model (including the larger iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max) already has all the internal tech they need to communicate via satellite – they’ve just been waiting for Apple to flip the switch.
And that’s about to happen soon, with Apple revealing that it and its satellite partner Globalstar are finally ready to make the feature live in November 2022.
Thanks to Emergency SOS via Satellite, iPhone 14 users will have a way to communicate with emergency services that doesn’t require a Wi-Fi or cellular connection – so the next time you’re out exploring an area of wilderness that’s off the grid, if you've got an iPhone 14 you won’t need to worry so much about how to summon assistance if you're in a pinch.
You won’t, however, be able to use the feature to contact anyone you want, at least for now, which sadly means no Instagramming your adventures from remote locations. Emergency SOS via Satellite is, as the name suggests, for contacting emergency services only.
When it launches, Emergency SOS via Satellite will join the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models’ other new safety feature: crash detection. This feature (which is also found on the Apple Watch 8, Apple Watch SE 2, and Apple Watch Ultra) relies on various data that your Apple device collects to determine if you’ve been involved in a collision.
If it detects that you've been involved in a crash, your device can then contact emergency services automatically – though you're given a few seconds to cancel the automatic call in case the device is mistaken.
For now, Emergency SOS via Satellite is only available in the US (including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) and Canada. Considering that the feature has reportedly cost Apple $450 million to implement in these regions (based on the amount Apple says it has invested in US infrastructure), we imagine it may take a while before it decides to expand it further – Apple likely won’t want to spend more on satellite communications unless it’s certain the feature will be popular.
If you've got an Android phone, it may not be too long before you're able to use a similar satellite SOS feature – it's been reported that Android 14 will bring satellite communications support to many of the best Android phones in 2023.
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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.