Apple urged to bring emergency location feature to iPhone


iPhone 911
iPhone users are at risk without this feature.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has been urged to bring an emergency location feature that could save countless lives to the iPhone.

Advanced Mobile Location (AML), a technology that allows the emergency services to more accurately locate a person in danger, was brought to Android over a year ago — but it still isn’t available in iOS.

On its website, the European Emergency Number Association has published a list of stories from different countries where AML was used to save a person’s life. Its accurate location data is crucial in situations where obtaining a location from other means is difficult.

For instance, AML helped save hikers in Belgium when one man fell and broke his leg, and the group was unable to provide an accurate location. It also helped save children in Estonia when a toaster caught fire and they were unaware of their exact address.

It’s a feature that saves lives, which is why Google brought it to Android last June. But Apple is yet to adopt the same functionality in iOS, and the EENA is pleading with the company to change that.

“In the past months, EENA has been travelling around Europe to raise awareness of AML in as many countries as possible,” reads a post on its blog. “All these meetings brought up a recurring question that EENA had to reply to: ‘So, what about Apple?'”

“For months, EENA has tried to establish contact with Apple to work on a solution that automatically provides accurate location derived from iPhones to emergency services and rescuers. Unfortunately, with no result.”

The emergency services themselves are also calling for Apple to implement the feature on the iPhone.

The company offers a similar feature on Apple Watch, which sends a user’s location to a specified contact in an emergency. EENA praises that, but says that AML should be extended to the iPhone, which it says is at a disadvantage compared to rival devices.

“EENA calls on Apple to integrate Advanced Mobile Location in their smartphones for the safety of their customers,” it says.


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