Apple today confirmed that the new Emergency SOS via Satellite feature for iPhone 14 series will launch later this month. The company also announced a $450 million investment in the Advanced Manufacturing Fund to support the satellite features.
Last month, Apple introduced the iPhone 14 series. One of the new features that the iPhone 14 series brings is the satellite connectivity feature. Using this feature, users will be able to connect to a nearby satellite and send texts in case of emergency and no cellular service. As previously announced, this feature will only be available to users in the US and Canada.
Apple has partnered with Globalstar to make the emergency satellite service available to iPhone 14 users. Apple says the feature makes use of the spectrum in L and S bands that have been specially designated for mobile satellite services.
How Emergency SOS via Satellite Works
Emergency SOS requests made via iPhone are received by one of Globalstar’s 24 satellites in low earth orbit traveling at roughly 16,000 mph. Messages are then sent to ground stations located at key points across the globe. In the event that the closest emergency service location cannot receive text messages, the message is routed to a relay center with Apple-trained emergency specialists.
The service will be free for two years (which means until at least November 2024), but the pricing details after that time have not been revealed yet. The service is also expected to make its way to other markets, but Apple is yet to confirm details of any further expansion.
iPhone 14 customers will be able to use this feature in the coming weeks. As of now, it is unclear whether the feature will be part of iOS 16.1 or if a full OTA update will be needed.