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iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via satellite now an option when you can’t contact 999

Earlier this month, Apple confirmed its satellite-based Emergency SOS messaging feature for iPhone 14 was expanding to the UK. Well, today is that day.

The potentially life-saving feature makes it possible to contact the emergency services in the absence of Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity and was initially launched in the US and Canada following the arrival of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models.

Now users in France, Germany, Ireland and the UK can access the service. In the UK, users attempting to dial 999 or 112 to report an emergency will now see a “Try Emergency Text via Satellite” option when the attempt to make emergency call fails.

That will be accessible via a new button next to the End Call icon. From here, users will be asked to point their phone skywards towards the satellites and answer questions to help get information quickly to the emergency services, relayed by the receivers on the ground. This way, the emergency services will know the iPhone owner’s precise GPS location and the nature of the troubles.

“Being able to use a satellite connection to contact 999 or 112 if there is no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is a breakthrough that Apple has brought to the general public with iPhone 14,” said John Anthony, the British Association of Public Safety Communications Officials’ president in an Apple Newsroom post.

“The feature will mean that emergency services can be alerted when it was not previously possible and are then able to do their jobs to better effect, in part because of the initial information that can be shared with dispatchers, such as location and essential details about the emergency. Ultimately, this will help save lives.”

Apple offers a demonstration of the feature which allows users to familiarise themselves with the interface without actually calling the emergency service into action. Last week, the feature was responsible for its first rescue, a snowmobiler in Alaska, USA.

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