iOS 12 automatically shares your location when you call 911

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iOS 12 911 calls
iOS 12 will help you get faster emergency services.
Photo: Apple

Apple is making it easier for iPhone users in the United States to be located by the emergency services with iOS 12.

When the update rolls out to everyone this fall, users will be able to automatically and securely share their location data with 911 first responders to help reduce emergency response times, Apple confirmed today.

Apple repair centers are accidentally calling 911 dozens of times a day

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Apple Watch Emergency SOS
Emergency SOS isn’t always useful.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Emergency responders in Elk Grove and Sacramento Country have received over 1,600 accidental 911 calls from Apple repair facilities in the past four months.

The calls waste valuable time and resources and potentially slow down the response to genuine emergencies. The problem seems to have been introduced by iOS 11, which added an Emergency SOS shortcut to iPhone and Apple Watch.

Apple means culture: Taylor Swift, hot new patents, and Siri’s response to 9/11

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Taylor powers into Apple like no one else.
Taylor powers into Apple like no one else.
Cover: Stephen Smith

Another week flying by here at Cult of Mac headquarters, and we’ve got a ton of great stories to share with you in the latest issue of Cult of Mac Magazine.

Taylor Swift made waves with her calling out the Cupertino company’s plans to not pay artists for music streamed during upcoming Apple Music free trial period, and we’ve got all the details within. Plus, we take a look at Amazon’s new home hub, the Echo, spend some time trawling the patent office for new Apple gear coming our way, and take a quick tour of the latest iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan betas for developers.

All that and more in this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine. Be sure to download and subscribe to check it all out on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Text To 911 Coming By 2014, As Top Four Mobile Carriers Agree To Work Together On The Issue

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Coming sooner than you might think.

The Big Four US mobile carriers–AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile–have just sent out a press release committing to push the issue of text to 911 capabilities, hopefully sooner than, but at least by, 2014.

These major players, plus The 911 Association and the Association for Public-Safety Communications Officials International, have decided to work together on standards and procedures to make this happen with a seamless transition to text to 911 services across the US.

New Emergency Program Uses iPhones And QR Codes To Save Lives

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Lifesquare uses QR code stickers, iPhone app to provide emergency workers with health data
Lifesquare uses QR code stickers, iPhone app to provide emergency workers with health data.

Healthcare has been a natural fit for the iPad and, to a slightly smaller extent, the iPhone. iOS devices can provide interaction with electronic records and other patient information as well as offer access to reference guides, medical images like X-rays, and even remote diagnoses via FaceTime.

A new program being tested in California’s Marin County aims to bring some of those abilities to paramedics in the field. The program, which equips paramedic teams with iPhones via a specialized QR reader app, is a joint venture with Silicon Valley startup Lifesquare. Its aim is to allow paramedics instant access to patient information using QR codes stickers.

Verizon To Make SMS-To-911 Service Available By Early 2013

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Verizon has announced its plans to lead the text-to-911 initiative here in the US. Starting early 2013, Verizon customers will be able to send 911 SMS texts to emergency call centers. This new way of communicating with 911 call centers is a great step forward in public safety and allows for those in need to relay information in cases when calling or talking are difficult.