Just in time for the holiday season, iPhone 14/15 users in the US and Puerto Rico can now access Roadside Assistance via satellite through their iOS 17 devices. This feature is exclusive to iPhone models with embedded satellite connectivity. While Emergency SOS via satellite is meant for life-threatening situations, Roadside Assistance is designed to help with inconveniences like car trouble in areas with no WiFi or cellular connectivity.
To request Roadside Assistance, users can start by typing a message to “roadside assistance” in the Messages app while on satellite mode. From there, they confirm whether they need Roadside Assistance or Emergency SOS, select the issue they are facing (such as needing gas or a recharge), provide the make and model of their car, and hold their iPhone upright and in clear visibility to establish a satellite connection.
There are a few limitations to note. Roadside Assistance via Satellite only works for four-wheeled cars and trucks and is not available for motorcycles or Vespas. Users must also be near a road to receive help. AAA offers members a certain number of roadside assistance calls included with their subscriptions, and non-members can also receive assistance for a fee, which varies by region.
Once connected to an AAA representative, users can communicate with them via satellite messaging. The connection must be maintained by being outside in an open area, and long messages may take longer to send. The AAA representative will check in regularly and send help as needed.
Overall, the experience of calling for roadside assistance via satellite was found to be seamless and efficient, providing peace of mind in areas with limited or no cell service.