If you’ve followed Apple’s recent launch event, you must know that the iPhone 14 models feature a groundbreaking safety function – SOS emergency satellite connectivity.
It allows the user to connect with emergency service under “exceptional” situations. This means even if you are out of the range of WiFi or cellular network connection, your iPhone will connect you via Satellite.
But you are probably confused about how exactly this function works, right? Let’s find out.
When Is Satellite Connection Available?
The emergency connectivity is ready to use whenever the internet connection (WiFi or Cellular network) is unavailable, and you need to send an SOS message. That means you can use this function seamlessly if you are in an open space – nowhere near trees or buildings.
However, there’s a catch. To use this feature, you’ll need the latest device model and iOS 16 software (update supposedly coming in Nov 2022). So, you might have to upgrade your iPhone 13 or older device to the latest version.
If the thought of whether or not to upgrade your iPhone was already in your mind, visiting setapp and learning about all the latest features would be wise.
Sending Text Messages
It is noteworthy that this function only allows you to send SOS text messages. You can not make a phone call via satellite connectivity.
At the time of emergency, your device will display a few questions to assess the situation. As soon as you are connected, it will send the information collected to the emergency personnel.
Your iPhone will start a text conversation with emergency responders by sharing your info like your Medical ID and emergency contact number (which you have to set up before). You will also have to answer an emergency questionnaire and share your location and other information to facilitate clear communication.
Time is of the essence during an uncertain situation. Therefore, Apple has worked on creating the compression algorithm. It makes text messages 3X smaller for effective and speedy communication.
Accessing Satellite Connectivity
To make this function as efficient and seamless as possible, your device will direct you to the point where it can connect with the nearest Satellite. The text will be sent in an encrypted format. The company will decrypt this when connected to the relevant emergency relay center or services dispatcher.
Note: The message may take up to a few seconds to be delivered. However, it takes several minutes if you are in a building or surrounded by nature, as they may create obstructions in the process.
The iPhone 14 models include a high dynamic range gyroscope and dual-core accelerometer. Both these features assist with crash detection (Detect G-force measurements up to 256Gs). It allows you to connect with the Satellite even if you are stuck at a remote location.
This feature is available in the United States and Canada for all iPhone 14 models. It allows international travelers to use the SOS service as and when required. However, if you’ve bought your iPhone 14 in China mainland, Hong Kong, or Macao, you might not be able to use the service.
Moreover, it isn’t available in American Samoa. The Emergency SOS might not work in locations above 62% latitude, including northern parts of Alaska and Canada.
While you obviously require an iPhone 14 to avail of the satellite service, you will also have to have an iOS 16 software update which will be out in November 2022 ( as mentioned earlier). Besides, you should be in a location with no access to WiFi and cellular data.
When you send messages with Emergency SOS via Satellite, your messages will be sent in encrypted form. Apple will then decrypt your messages to send them to the relevant emergency services dispatcher.
It is also possible that the emergency service centers might reserve your emergency texts to provide customers with better services, and that too, in compliance with applicable laws.
The Bottom Line
The SOS feature of the iPhone 14 models is surely impressive, providing a sense of security to the end user. Speaking of the pricing, Apple has not given any details on the cost of satellite connectivity. However, iPhone 14 users will get two years of free satellite connectivity. Hence, it seems a pretty interesting feature for iPhone users. And if you have always been worried about not being able to reach out to emergency services, upgrading your smartphone to iPhone 14 would be a wise decision to make.