Apple has announced that it will provide iPhone 14 and 15 owners with an additional free year of satellite communications, following the introduction of its Emergency SOS via Satellite feature. This feature allows users to call for help through satellites, enabling emergency services contact even in areas with no traditional phone coverage.
Previously, Apple had only confirmed that the feature would be available for free for one year, leaving uncertainty about its future. Concerns arose over the potential risks individuals could face if they were to encounter emergencies without coverage due to not paying for the service.
Acknowledging the importance of the feature, Apple highlighted that it has been instrumental in saving numerous lives worldwide. The company shared examples of individuals who were rescued thanks to Emergency SOS via Satellite, including a man who survived a 400-foot cliff fall in Los Angeles and lost hikers found in the Apennine Mountains of Italy.
Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing, Kaiann Drance, expressed the company’s satisfaction in allowing iPhone 14 and 15 users to benefit from this groundbreaking service for an additional two years at no cost.
Initially launched on November 15 in the US and Canada, this announcement coincides with the date when individuals could have found themselves outside of coverage. To qualify for the extra free year, iPhone 14 users needed to have activated their devices before this date.
While Apple has not disclosed the cost of operating the emergency SOS tool or its infrastructure, it is not provided for free, as the company incurs expenses in paying satellite operators for connections and operating relay centers that forward text messages to emergency services call centers.
In addition to contacting emergency services, iPhone users can also utilize the satellite signal to update the Find My app. Apple further announced that satellite users with the iPhone 15 would be able to connect with car breakdown services in the US.