iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via Satellite Feature Coming to Canada this Month
Apple today announced the much-anticipated Emergency SOS via Satellite feature is coming to the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro series in Canada and the U.S. later this month.
“The new service will allow iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models to connect directly to a satellite, enabling messaging with emergency services when outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage,” Apple said.
Apple shared that the critical infrastructure required to support this upcoming feature cost the company $450 million USD. The funding came out of Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, with the bulk of it going to Covington, Louisiana-based satellite service provider Globalstar for enhancements to its satellite network and ground stations.
300 of Globalstar’s employees are working to support Emergency SOS via Satellite on iPhones. According to a September report, Apple has locked down 85% of Globalstar’s deployed network capacity for the feature.
“Emergency SOS via satellite is a perfect example of how American ingenuity and technology can save lives,” said Apple COO Jeff Williams. “We are proud this service is enabled by leading US companies, and that our users can explore off-the-grid areas knowing they are still within reach of emergency services if they are in need.”
Apple said that, in partnership with Globalstar, it will deliver emergency satellite connectivity to iPhone users through the spectrum in L and S bands that is designated for mobile satellite services by ITU Radio Regulations.
“When an iPhone user makes an Emergency SOS via satellite request, the message is received by one of Globalstar’s 24 satellites in low-earth orbit travelling at speeds of approximately 16,000 mph,” Apple explained. “The satellite then sends the message down to custom ground stations located at key points all over the world.”
Globalstar’s ground stations, in turn, forward messages to the pertinent emergency services. If the closest emergency services location is unable to receive text messages, they are sent to a relay center with Apple-trained emergency specialists.
In addition to sending text messages via satellite, iPhone users will also be able to use satellite connectivity to broadcast their location to contacts through the Find My app once the feature rolls out.
To connect iPhone with the satellite network, users communicate over the mobile satellite services spectrum, which Globalstar has operated in the US for the past 20 years. With upgraded ground stations, and soon an updated satellite constellation, Apple and Globalstar will ensure the spectrum continues to enable emergency services.
Emergency SOS via Satellite is only one of several new user safety features in the iPhone 14 lineup. Another is Crash Detection, which is already available on iPhone 14 and Apple Watch.
The feature is only launching in Canada and the U.S. this month, but a previous report indicated that Apple plans to expand it to more countries in the future. Head over to Apple’s website to learn more about Emergency SOS via satellite or check out our breakdown of how to use it.