Beginning with iOS 17, Apple has introduced a new feature for iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 models that allows users in the U.S. to access roadside assistance via satellite. This feature enables users to contact the roadside assistance company AAA for vehicle service even when they are outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage.
To use this feature, users simply need to open the Messages app and start a new message. Then, they can type “roadside” into the address field. When there is no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage available, a “Roadside Assistance” option will appear. By tapping on this option and following the on-screen instructions, users can connect their iPhone to a satellite and request help from AAA. Apple notes that users will need to be outside with a clear view of the sky and horizon to use this feature.
Tech reviewer Brian Tong demonstrated this feature by having AAA come to jump-start his car’s battery. The roadside assistance via satellite feature can also be used for other services offered by AAA, such as being locked out of a vehicle, having a flat tire, or running out of fuel.
This feature is included free of charge for two years upon activation of any new iPhone 14 or iPhone 15 model. Service coverage is determined by the user’s AAA membership plan. Non-AAA members can still access the service on a pay-per-use basis.
While the feature is currently available in the U.S., Apple suggests that it may expand to additional countries in the future. In Canada, a similar organization called CAA exists, making it likely that the service may eventually be extended to that country as well.
Roadside assistance via satellite is an extension of the Emergency SOS via satellite feature. Recently, Apple extended the free usage of satellite features for an additional year.