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Apple’s emergency SOS feature is now live

The feature is rolling out for iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro users.

iphone showing emergency sos
Image: KnowTechie

Apple’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature is now available for users in the U.S. and Canada.

The potentially life-saving feature was announced for iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro during the launch event. It wasn’t ready at release time, but Apple says it is now rolling out.

Emergency SOS via Satellite enables users to send short messages when they are out of cellular connectivity range. Globalstar provides the satellites that power the emergency feature.

To continue the roll-out of Emergency SOS, Apple is investing $450 million into critical infrastructure. Most of this sum is going to Globalstar to build out ground stations and other hardware.

ground station for apple emergency sos by satellite
Image: Apple

Apple says the feature is available on iOS 16 via a software update. If you don’t have the update yet on your iPhone 14, hold tight. These things can take a couple of days.

To use the feature, Apple says you should try calling emergency services. If that call doesn’t go through, tap the Emergency Text via Satellite button, and follow the instructions.

Your iPhone 14 will guide you to keep the connection to the satellite open. It could take 15 seconds under ideal conditions or over a minute if you are under some tree types.

Some things could make the connection fail, like heavy foliage or if you are under anything else that blocks the sky from view.

The Emergency SOS via Satellite feature is free for the first two years for any iPhone 14 owner. Apple has not said how much it will cost after that, or how to unsubscribe if you don’t want to pay.

Apple is planning to expand the service to more countries (via MacPrime), but hasn’t said which countries or how long after any announcement the service will go live. We’ll keep you updated as we hear more.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek. Hardware guy here at KnowTechie, if it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't) I probably have one around here somewhere. My hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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