As promised, Apple has expanded its iPhone 14 Emergency SOS satellite feature to France, Germany, Ireland and the UK after launching it in the US and Canada. To remind you, the new iPhones have a built-in satellite connection that people can use to send emergency SOS messages in places where there's no available cellular signal. The service is available to all iPhone 14 users on iOS 16.1 in supported countries and is free for two years following purchase.
"It means that many more people will be able to contact 112 when they have no mobile coverage and need urgent assistance," said European Emergency Number Association CEO Gary Machado. "We are confident that this will save many lives and offer significant help to emergency services dealing with these often very complicated rescues."
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.
The feature could be a godsend to hikers, skiers and others lost in the Alps or other remote parts of Europe. Support for more countries will arrive next year, Apple said.