Emergency SOS via Satellite: Which iPhones Have It? Will iPhone 13, 12, 11 or X Get It?

The new iPhone 14 lineup has been taking the world by storm and it is mostly thanks to the new and improved features introduced by Apple. iPhones now have a larger sensor and a dedicated Action Mode to help you capture great low-light images and stabilized videos. The iPhone 14 Pro lineup also has a smaller notch which brings along the new awaited Dynamic Island. Besides that, you finally also get Always-on Display, a feature that has been missing on iPhones for a long time now.

Keeping in line with its tradition to enhance security and privacy, Apple has also added Emergency SOS via Satellite to the new iPhone 14 lineup. Let’s find out more about it. 

What is Emergency SOS via Satellite?

Emergency SOS via Satellite is a last resort feature that can help you connect with emergency services when you do not have cell phone coverage or Wi-Fi coverage. 

The new iPhones come with dedicated hardware that allows you to connect to nearby satellites and transfer emergency messages accordingly. The feature does not work like a traditional satellite phone which allows you to directly connect and call anyone using a satellite connection. 

iPhones instead feature inferior hardware which only allows you to send text messages using a satellite connection.

While inferior this should be more than enough for most users around the world when stuck in situations where it’s hard to get any kind of coverage. 

Emergency SOS via Satellite: Compatible iPhones

As you might have guessed, only the latest iPhone 14 lineup is compatible with Emergency SOS via Satellite. This feature requires dedicated hardware currently only present on the iPhone 14 lineup. Here is a list of devices currently compatible with Emergency SOS via Satellite. 

  • iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 14

Future iPhones are also expected to come bundled with this feature out of the box with next-generation improvements to connectivity. 

Will iPhone 13, 12, 11 or X get Emergency SOS via Satellite?

No, of course not. iPhones older than iPhone 14 series lack the required hardware to support the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature.

How does Emergency SOS via Satellite work on iPhone 14?

Emergency SOS via Satellite automatically activates when you try calling emergency services without a cell phone network and a Wi-Fi connection. Once activated, you will be given an option to text emergency services using a satellite connection. When you select this option, you will be asked to fill in a small questionnaire describing your current emergency. 

iPhone will then use a new UI to help you point it in the direction of the nearest satellite. Once a connection is established, your message will be sent to the nearest emergency service provider in your region. In some cases, you might be asked to answer follow-up questions to help better explain your situation. 

Ideal Conditions for Apple’s Emergency SOS via Satellite

A satellite connection requires a clear view of the sky and horizon. Tall structures blocking your view can impede your connection. Foliage can also affect your connection and thus increase sending times for your messages. 

Under ideal conditions, a satellite message will be sent in under 15 seconds. If you have tall structures like mountains, canyons, or buildings around you, the sending time can increase up to 1 minute. The same applies to foliage, medium to dense foliage above you can increase sending times up to 1 minute. In some cases where the foliage is highly dense, you might be unable to establish a stable connection.

We recommend reaching for higher ground in such cases, to improve your chances of getting a stable connection.

FAQs

Here are a few commonly asked questions about Emergency SOS via Satellite that should help you get up to speed with the latest information.

When will Emergency SOS via Satellite become available?

Emergency SOS via Satellite will be introduced with a future feature update to iOS 16 released in November 2022. 

Is Emergency SOS via Satellite paid?

It is likely that, according to Apple’s documentation, the feature will be free for the first two years. Past which there is bound to be a subscription or a one-time payment to help use Emergency SOS via Satellite. However, there is no confirmed price for the same for now.

Where is Emergency SOS via Satellite available?

This feature is currently only available to the residents of the U.S and Canada. Users traveling to these regions will also be able to use Emergency SOS via Satellite on their devices. 

We hope this post helped you get familiar with Emergency SOS via Satellite and its compatible devices. If you have any more questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below.

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Mudit

Spectroscopic collection of human cells trying to pave a path via words.

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