iOS 18 is adding live video support to the emergency SOS feature on the iPhone

Emergency SOS on an iPhone
Emergency SOS is getting a new feature (Image credit: Apple)

Apple announced a lot of new features coming to iOS 18 at its WWDC 2024 event, but there wasn't time to cover everything – and additional upgrades continue to be revealed, including live video support for emergency SOS calls.

As described in Apple's press release for iOS 18, the new functionality is going to enable you to "share context through streaming video and recorded media". It means emergency dispatchers will have a better idea of what's happening and can provide help accordingly.

You can place an emergency call on an iPhone by pressing and holding the power (or side) button and either of the volume buttons together: a countdown will show on screen, and if you keep holding, the call will be placed.

So far we haven't seen the new video feature demoed – iOS 18 is currently only available as a developer beta – but presumably there will be options on screen during the call to start livestreaming or to send recorded video.

A major upgrade

iOS 18 overview

There's a lot to look forward to in iOS 18 (Image credit: Apple)

We can add live video support for emergency SOS calls to the long, long list of new features arriving in iOS 18. Some of the ones we're looking forward to the most include the ability to lock away apps and customize the look of the home screens.

The iOS 18 upgrade might also mean you can do away with your password manager and your current audio transcription service. Several features currently covered by third-party apps will soon be integrated into Apple's own software.

Then of course we have all the Apple Intelligence tools offered by iOS 18, including a major upgrade for Siri that should make it much smarter – though bear in mind that Apple Intelligence will only be available on two iPhone models to begin with.

Next month iOS 18 is going to enter the public beta phase, so more of us will be able to try it out, and then it should start rolling out to everyone in September – more or less at the same time as the iPhone 16 handsets are unveiled.

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.