Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite feature on the iPhone 14 lineup launched in November, but it was only available in the U.S. and Canada.
Now, Apple has expanded that to several European countries: France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK.
The feature, which is only available on the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max, allows the users to send an emergency SOS message via satellite, even when there’s absolutely no other connectivity.
We’ve tested it out (twice) in a controlled environment, and it really works. It requires the user to call 911, and when the call doesn’t go through, the option to send an emergency text via satellite appears. The user then has to go through a short survey, explaining the nature of their emergency, and point the phone towards the sky to beam the message to a satellite. When I tried it out, it took a couple of seconds to send the message, and my colleague Cecily had a similar experience.
For this feature, Apple has partnered with satellite communications company Globalstar, and it can theoretically work anywhere in the world. The company says that support for more countries will follow “next year.”
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While Emergency SOS via satellite is free for everyone right now, it might not stay that way forever. Apple says the service is free for two years after you activate a new iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max.