Apple’s new Emergency SOS via satellite service built into the iPhone 14 helped Alaska State Troopers rescue a man near the Arctic Circle.
As the satellite SOS service just launched in mid-November, this may be the first time it has been used in real crisis.
iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via satellite service to the rescue
All four of the iPhone 14 models can use Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite service to exchange texts with emergency services while outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage.
It was created for exactly the set of circumstances reported by the Alaska Department of Public Safety. On December 1, a man riding a snowmobile between the remote towns of Noorvik and Kotzebue had become stranded and used his iPhone to call for help.
“Working with local search and rescue teams, the Apple Emergency Response Center, and the Northwest Arctic Borough Search and Rescue Coordinator, the NWAB SAR deployed four volunteer searchers to the Nimiuk Point area directly to the GPS coordinates provided by the Apple Emergency Response Center,” said the Alaska police report.
The man was found unharmed.
More about Apple’s emergency texting feature
Emergency texts are a tremendous boon for hikers, boaters and anyone traveling through the remote sections of the United States or Canada where cell service isn’t available. And the satellite SOS service will become available in France, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom starting in December.
Satellite phones traditionally require bulky external antennas. The iPhone 14 compensates by showing users where they need to point the handset in order to make a connection with the satellite in low-Earth orbit.
The emergency texts go to centers staffed by Apple-trained specialists who can call for help on the user’s behalf.
The emergency messaging service is free for two years starting at the time of activation of a new iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max. Apple has not yet announced what the cost will be after two years.