Emergency SOS via satellite is a feature on iPhone 14 and above that allows you to text emergency services from remote locations without cellular or Wi-Fi coverage. Here’s all you need to know about the feature’s pricing and availability.
- The iPhone 14 and 14 Pro models have introduced a new feature called Emergency SOS via satellite, enabling users to send text messages to emergency services using satellite connectivity.
- The feature will be free of cost for the first two years after it launches in November 2022. Apple hasn’t yet released the pricing details for using the service after the free-to-use period.
- The service will only be available in the United States and Canada for now.
Apple just wrapped up the iPhone 14 event in Cupertino, and while there were quite a few attractions featuring the new Apple Watch models, AirPods Pro, and iPhone 14, one of the more unique features is satellite connectivity on the new iPhones.
In this article, we’ll explore the pricing and availability of the new feature.
What is Emergency SOS via satellite?
Emergency SOS via satellite is a new feature that lets you contact emergency services via satellite connectivity, even when you’re outside the range of cellular service or Wi-Fi network.
Satellite communications generally have limited bandwidth, so for now, you may use the service only to text (not call) emergency services. You cannot use it to send standard text messages to your friends and family.
Apple provides a custom UI to help you connect with the nearest satellite and help you turn left or right for better connectivity if required. It also presents you with a list of questions to help you describe your emergency.
Once you’re connected, your iPhone starts a text conversation with emergency responders by sharing critical information like your Medical ID and emergency contact information (if you have set them up), the emergency questionnaire answers, your location (including elevation), and the remaining battery life for your iPhone.
You may also use this service to notify your emergency contacts about your situation, along with your location information, via the Find My app.
The Emergency SOS via satellite feature has quite a few limitations. Some of them are as follows:
- You must be outside with a clear view of the sky and horizon. Also, your iPhone must be in your hands, not your pockets or your backpack.
- With a clear view of the sky and horizon, it may take 15 seconds to send a message. With medium or dense foliage, it might even take over a minute.
- Any major physical obstruction may slow down or even block satellite connectivity. This includes trees, hills, mountains, canyons, or tall structures.
- The feature is only available when there is no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage in your area.
- It might not work in places above 62° latitude, such as northern parts of Canada and Alaska.
Emergency SOS has somewhat limited availability.
- Only iPhone 14 and above models will support the feature. It also requires iOS 16, which will release to the general public in November 2022.
- The feature is only available in the US (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and Canada.
- International travelers who visit the U.S. and Canada can use Emergency SOS via satellite, except if they bought their phone in mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macao.
- The service isn’t available in Guam or American Samoa.
Apple has announced that Emergency SOS via satellite will be free of cost for the first two years since its launch in November 2022 with the release of iOS 16. There’s no word yet on future pricing plans for the feature, so we don’t know what it will cost after the free-to-use period.
We will update the article as soon as new information is made available.
If you want to learn more about Emergency SOS via satellite, refer to the Apple Support page for details.