February 3, 2023

Money News PH

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How to use iPhone 14 emergency satellite SOS

One of the new features that rolled out alongside the iPhone 14 phones in September 2022 was a feature Apple calls “emergency SOS via satellite” — and the name pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

According to Apple, it is intended for “extraordinary circumstances where no other means of contacting emergency services is available.” If you’re in trouble and can’t get a Wi-Fi signal or a cell tower lock, your iPhone 14 will contact a satellite, thereby broadcasting your request for help.

Be warned though, this is not a backup internet connection for personal use. The satellite connection is slow and limited and really only good for conveying important information about your situation: where you are, what condition you are in and what you need help with.

To use the Satellite Emergency SOS feature, you’ll need an iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, or an iPhone 14 Pro Max. Apple hasn’t discussed long-term pricing yet, but it has made the service free for two years made when you purchase a compatible device.

This is how emergency call SOS works via satellite

The service sends important information to the emergency services.

Courtesy of Apple

Emergency SOS via satellite is only available if you are in an area with no Wi-Fi or cellular coverage – otherwise you are expected to be able to reach emergency services or your trusted contacts in the normal way. Ideally you need a clear view of the sky and horizon as obstacles such as foliage and mountains can slow down or even block your satellite connection.

Even in perfect conditions with the best satellite lock, it can take 15 seconds to send messages. That might seem primitive, but there’s a lot of impressive tech here – not the least of which is the way Apple has built satellite connectivity into something as slim as the iPhone 14. (Check out the size of a regular satellite phone to see what we mean.)

As you would wish in a stressful emergency situation, your phone will walk you through everything you need to do, and that includes moving the iPhone around so it stays locked to a satellite. (You can do this even if the handset itself is locked.) The feature works in combination with the other security options on iPhone, allowing you to send information from the Health app’s “Emergency ID” section, for example, to emergency responders.