When I first watched Apple’s iPhone 14 reveal, Emergency SOS via satellite jumped out at me. It’s an ingenious idea, to use satellites to contact emergency responders in areas with no cellular reception, but how does it work?
In short, Emergency SOS via Satellite allows any iPhone 14 running IOS 16.1 or above to connect users to emergency services over text, by connecting the phone to one of 24 accessible satellites in low earth orbit. It can only be triggered by the user trying to call or text 911 and failing to connect to cell service. They will be given the option to “Emergency Text via Satellite”, allowing them to answer a few questions about their specific situation, including indicating whether they are in danger, lost, or injured. Then, provided that the user is in a clear area without dense foliage or mountains blocking the satellite, they can point their phone toward the satellite to relay the information.
After successfully connecting to the satellite, users will be able to send and receive text messages to and from emergency responders, who will be given their location and information about the type of incident the SOS is in regard to.
It should be noted, however, that this feature should only be used if it is absolutely necessary, as many search and rescue organizations bill the rescuees for their services, often to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. If you want to test out the new feature on your iPhone 14, you can navigate to Settings > Emergency SOS > Under Emergency SOS via satellite > Try Demo.