Apple has confirmed for the first time its Emergency SOS satellite messaging service will be coming to the UK before the end of the year.
The service, which enables users to make contact with the emergency services when Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity is unavailable, launches today in the United States and Canada.
However, Apple will extend the satellite connectivity to iPhone 14 owners in the UK, France, and Germany in December. That’s excellent news for adventurers in the UK who’ve been mulling an upgrade to make use of the new satellite tech.
Apple announced the features at the iPhone 14 launch event in September, following months of speculation. The new handsets have new custom components that enable users to connect to GlobalStar satellites without the need for a sizeable antenna within the device.
The tech works by compressing a regular sized message down by 300 per cent enabling them to be sent and received via the low-earth orbit satellites in as little as 15 seconds.
Apple is giving users the opportunity to demo the technology today, naturally without bothering the emergency services as users familiarise themselves with the technology for when emergency does strike.
“Using the built-in Emergency SOS via satellite demo, users can test satellite connectivity on their iPhone by connecting to a real satellite in range without calling emergency services, allowing them to experience the process and familiarise themselves with the service,” the company writes in a blog post today.
Apple is also sharing a host of screenshots (above) showcasing how the process goes and how the interactions with the emergency services will look on their iPhone handsets. For example, a failed attempt to make a call will present users with the opportunity to use Emergency Text via Satellite.
Users will be encouraged to point their phone skywards to connect with the satellite before answering some quick questions about their situation, sharing their location and medical ID. They’ll then be asked to describe the location of the emergency by a human in a relay centre.
iPhone 14 owners will need to upgrade to iOS 16.1 to use the service. We’ll let you know exactly when the UK rollout begins.