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iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via satellite has been expanded to six new countries


Apple will extend its Emergency SOS feature via satellite to six new countries this month. The satellite SOS emergency service can help users contact emergency services when other means of accessing emergency services are not available. If users call or text emergency services and can’t connect because they’re out of range of cellular coverage and Wi-Fi, the supported iPhone attempts to connect the user to the help they need via satellite. Users can access Emergency SOS via satellite on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models running iOS 16.1 or later.

The feature was first launched only in the US and Canada. The Cupertino-based company then expanded it to the UK, France, Germany and Ireland. It will expand the feature to users in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal this month, the company said in a press release announcing the launch of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus in a new yellow color on Tuesday.

Emergency SOS via satellite allows users outside of cellular coverage or Wi-Fi to communicate with emergency services and can also be used to find and share your own location with friends and family using the Find My app.

Since it takes some time to establish a satellite connection, the iPhone will ask users a few pre-programmed questions while searching for a signal. If a user is headed to a location with limited cellular and Wi-Fi coverage, Apple suggests that they create a Medical ID, add emergency contacts, and pre-test the Emergency SOS beta.

Apple also notes that to try to connect to a satellite, users can hold their iPhone in their hand normally — without raising or lifting their arm, but they advise against putting it in a pocket or backpack. The company adds that users may not be able to connect to a satellite if they are surrounded by dense foliage or other obstructions.

Since bandwidth is limited on cellular networks, Apple has developed a compression algorithm that reduces text messages three times in order to improve connection speed. Satellite communication is also included by default with fault detection.

From smartphones with rotatable screens or liquid cooling, to built-in augmented reality glasses and phones that owners can easily repair, we discuss the best devices we saw at MWC 2023 on the Orbital, Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, and Google Podcasts Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, and anywhere you get your podcasts.
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Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.