Apple’s innovative Emergency SOS via satellite feature has now been introduced in Australia and New Zealand. The feature, available on all iPhone 14 models, facilitates users to connect with emergency services through satellite text messages when cellular and Wi-Fi services are unreachable. It also lets users share their whereabouts using the Find My app via satellite.
The Emergency SOS via satellite feature comes enabled by default on iPhones operating on iOS 16.4 or later in Australia and New Zealand. When out of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage, an option to send a satellite text message appears upon dialing Australia’s 000 or New Zealand’s 111. A demo mode in the Settings app, under Emergency SOS, enables users to acquaint themselves with the service without the need to contact emergency services.
The service boasts a messaging speed as quick as 15 seconds under clear conditions. Users are directed to fill a brief questionnaire with essential information. The system then guides users to point their iPhone towards the sky to establish a connection and send the first message. This message encapsulates the user’s responses to the questionnaire, as well as their location, altitude, iPhone battery status, and Medical ID information, if available.
Apple has stated that the service is optimized for outdoor usage with an unobstructed sky view. It further cautioned that any obstructions such as foliage could delay or prevent the transmission of emergency messages. The satellite connectivity may not function in areas above 62° latitude, such as the northern parts of Canada and Alaska.
The Emergency SOS via satellite service is being offered free of charge for two years, effective from today or from the activation date of any iPhone 14 model, in Australia and New Zealand.
Apart from these countries, the service is also available in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.