One of the notable features of the iPhone 14 and 15 series is the ability to contact emergency services in remote areas with no cellular service. Apple introduced Emergency SOS via Satellite in 2022, a feature that proved crucial in helping people reach emergency services during situations where phone signals were unavailable, such as the wildfires in Maui.
Communications satellites, flying hundreds of miles above the Earth at 16,000 mph, are key to this feature. Although invisible to the human eye, these satellites can connect the iPhone 14 and 15 to emergency dispatchers, enabling users to contact help even when they cannot make traditional phone calls. Additionally, users can share their location with loved ones via satellite without sending a message.
Using Emergency SOS via Satellite on the iPhone 14 and 15 is straightforward. When faced with an emergency, dial 911 as you would in a regular call. If your phone cannot connect, an option to text emergency services via satellite will appear. By tapping the Emergency Text via Satellite button or going to Messages to text 911 or SOS and then tapping Emergency Services, users can initiate communication with emergency dispatchers.
During an emergency, the user will be prompted to answer questions related to their situation using taps on the screen. The types of emergencies users can choose from include car or vehicle issues, sickness or injury, crime, being lost or trapped, and fire. Depending on the selected emergency, users will receive follow-up prompts and questions. They can also notify their emergency contacts.
The iPhone interface will provide onscreen directions to help users connect to a satellite. The process is simple and guides users to finding and maintaining the connection with the satellite. Once connected, the iPhone will initiate a text conversation with emergency responders, sharing the emergency questionnaire answers, location, medical ID, emergency contact information (if set up), and remaining battery life.
Emergency dispatchers will receive the messages and respond via text. If local emergency services do not support text messages, Apple has established relay centers with operators as intermediaries between users and emergency dispatch.
Emergency SOS via Satellite is available on the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Apple has also introduced a demo mode for users to try out Emergency SOS via Satellite without actually contacting emergency services. This mode allows users to connect to a satellite and preview the emergency questionnaire.
Additionally, users can share their location via satellite using the Find My app. By tapping the Me tab and selecting My Location via Satellite, users can send their location to friends and family, even when out of range of a cell signal.
Emergency SOS via Satellite is a significant feature, ensuring that iPhone users can reach emergency services and share their location in situations where cellular service is unavailable.