Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite feature on the iPhone 14 lineup launched in November, but it was only available in the US and Canada.
Now, Apple has expanded it to several European countries: France, Germany, Ireland and the UK.
The feature, which is only available on the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max, allows users to send an emergency SOS message via satellite, even when there is no other connectivity.
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We’ve tested it (twice) in a controlled environment, and it really works. This requires the user to call 911, and when the call does not go through, an option appears to send an emergency text via satellite. The user is then required to undergo a short survey, explaining the nature of their emergency, and point the phone skyward to send a message to a satellite. When I tried it out, it took a few seconds for messages to send, and my colleague Cecily had a similar experience.
For this feature, Apple has partnered with satellite communications company Globalstar, and it could theoretically work anywhere in the world. The company says support for more countries will be out “next year”.
While Emergency SOS via Satellite is free to all for now, it may not stay that way forever. Apple says the service is free for two years after activating the new iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max.