The iPhone 14 can connect to satellites for emergency SOS features

For when you need help but don't have a cellular signal.

Probably the biggest new feature for the iPhone 14, 14 Plus and 14 Pro isn't one you'll use ever day, but you'll be glad you have it if you need it. The new phones have a built-in satellite connection that people can use to send emergency SOS messages in places where there's no available cellular signal.

First, your iPhone will help you orient your phone in the direction you need to point it to get the best signal. Once you have a connection, you can open up a message interface that lets you communicate with emergency service providers. Apple says that because of satellite connectivity limits, it'll take much longer to send messages than you're used to, so the feature includes some automatic questions it prompts you to answer, like "is anyone hurt?" It'll have auto-populated answers that you can tap to respond. Apple is also compressing messages to a third of their normal size to make sending them a little quicker.

iPhone 14 emergency SOS via satellite

Apple say that once the message is sent to the satellite, it then gets routed to emergency response centers; if those centers are only set up for voice calls, they'll first be passed to a response center that'll then get in touch with emergency response.

This feature will be included for free for two years with all iPhone 14 and 14 Pro models; it's not clear how much it'll cost after that. For people who are frequently away from cellular signals — perhaps the same people who are looking at an Apple Watch Ultra — this feature could be extremely useful in a tough spot.

Follow all of the news from Apple’s iPhone event right here.