Apple has announced that it will extend the free usage period for the Emergency SOS via satellite feature for iPhone 14 users. This feature allows iPhone 14 users to send text messages and location information to emergency services and contacts in areas without cellular coverage.
The Emergency SOS via satellite feature was launched in September 2022, along with the iPhone 14 series. It was initially offered as a free service for one year, after which users would have to pay a monthly fee to continue using it. However, Apple has decided to extend the free period for another year, until September 2024.
According to Apple, the reason for the extension is to give more time for users to experience the feature and provide feedback. Apple also said that it is working with more satellite operators and emergency responders to expand the availability and reliability of the service. Currently, the feature is supported in over 100 countries and regions, including Australia and New Zealand, which were added recently.
How the feature works and what are the benefits
The Emergency SOS via satellite feature works by using a special chip in the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro that can communicate with low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The feature is activated by pressing and holding the side button and one of the volume buttons until the Emergency SOS slider appears. Users can then slide the SOS button to send a text message and location information to the local emergency services, or slide the Contacts button to send the same information to up to five emergency contacts.
The feature is designed to work in areas where there is no cellular coverage, such as remote locations, natural disasters, or emergencies. The feature can also detect if the user is involved in a car crash and automatically send an alert to the emergency services and contacts. The feature can be a lifesaver for users who need urgent help or want to let their loved ones know that they are safe.
What are the limitations and costs of the feature
The Emergency SOS via satellite feature has some limitations and costs that users should be aware of. First, the feature requires the user to be outdoors with a clear view of the sky, as the satellite signal may not be able to penetrate buildings, trees, or mountains. Second, the feature only supports text messages, not voice calls or data. Third, the feature may take longer to send or receive messages, depending on the satellite availability and weather conditions. Fourth, the feature may not work in some countries or regions, depending on the local laws and regulations.
The feature is free for iPhone 14 users until September 2024, but after that, users will have to pay a monthly fee to continue using it. The fee will vary depending on the country or region, but Apple has said that it will be affordable and competitive. Users will also have to agree to the terms and conditions of the feature, which include sharing their location and personal information with Apple and its partners.