The all-new iPhone 14 Emergency SOS feature via Satellite


Apple is adding a feature new to the iPhone 14 that hopes users won’t have to use: satellite connectivity. Called Emergency SOS via satellite, the new feature is designed to connect you to emergency personnel when traditional cellular and Wi-Fi service isn’t available.

Working in partnership with the satellite telecommunications company Globalstar, the feature will use Globalstar’s network of satellites so you can send text messages from the Messages app to emergency services or contacts when other connectivity options aren’t available. Unlike iMessage, which has blue chat bubbles when messaging other Apple users, or green bubbles when massaging those with Android phones, messages sent using this Emergency SOS feature will be displayed in gray bubbles.

Messages will be limited in length and will automatically go to the emergency contact’s phone, even if they have Do Not Disturb enabled. The feature should be useful to those traveling in remote areas or in places affected by environmental crises, such as wildfires or hurricanes, which often destroy cell towers. The new iPhone 14 will help a user point the phone directly toward a satellite and connect to it. Once that happens, Apple states it will take less than 15 seconds to send a message if the user has a clear view of the sky. In other conditions, such as heavy foliage, it may take a few minutes.

Apple was previously rumored to be working on the feature for 2021’s iPhone 13, though that never materialized. The company is the latest technology giant to announce that it would be working with satellite companies on new connectivity features for phones. With the iPhone 14, Apple actually will be among the first to launch a product for consumers in this new mobile space race. Last month, T-Mobile announced a partnership with SpaceX that would use the latter’s Starlink network to beam connectivity to phones using T-Mobile’s disband spectrum. This feature, which is expected to launch in beta “by the end of next year,” will also initially only work with messaging apps, though T-Mobile and SpaceX are planning to add voice and data support in the future.

Unlike Apple’s iPhone 14 satellite program, this feature is expected to work with a large number of phones that are already sold by the carrier. Verizon is aiming to add a similar coverage boost via satellites, and in 2021, it was announced that it was working with Amazon’s project Kuiper for this service. Many people said that “the new safety feature is going to change the world.” Also, they said, “It will save many lives.”

The iPhone 14 SOS feature will be a big change for safety around the world.