Apple's iPhone 14 Emergency SOS satellite feature launched last year in the US and Canada, then came to France, Germany, Ireland and the UK shortly afterwards. Now, it's finally launching elsewhere on the planet, coming to New Zealand and Australia — two countries with large wilderness areas lacking any cellular service. As before, it's available to all iPhone 14 users ( iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max) on iOS 16.4 or greater and is free for two years following activation.
"Australians know full well the importance of remaining connected in regional, rural, and remote areas, particularly when they need emergency services," said Australia’s minister of communications, Michelle Rowland, in a statement. "The ability to contact Triple Zero with Emergency SOS via satellite when there is no mobile coverage is a strong backup to keep Australians connected in an emergency."
Emergency SOS via Satellite is activated by a long press on the power and volume buttons, or rapidly pressing the power button five times. The interface guides you on the best direction to point your iPhone for the best signal. Once connected, you can open a message interface with emergency service providers, and the phone will also communicate your location. If everything goes to plan, you'll receive a message that responders have been notified, and to stay where you are.
You can also share your location with family members in a non-emergency using the Find My app. Users simply open the Me tab, swipe up to see My Location via Satellite, and tap Send My Location. It also works with iPhone and Apple Watch Crash and Fall Detection features. There's even a demo mode that lets you practice using Emergency SOS so you can act quickly if a real emergency arises.
"Since launching last year, Emergency SOS via satellite has already helped save lives in the 12 countries where it has been available," Apple noted. It added that users should be patient if they use the feature, as "it can take a few minutes for even short messages to get through" due to the low bandwidth and rapid speeds of satellites.