Apple today announced that Emergency SOS via satellite is now available in Australia and New Zealand. Available on all iPhone 14 models, the feature allows users to send text messages to emergency services via satellite when cellular and Wi-Fi coverage is unavailable. Users can also share their satellite location in the Find My app.
Satellite Emergency SOS is enabled by default on iPhones with iOS 16.4 or later in Australia and New Zealand. An option to send a text message via satellite will appear after dialing 000 in Australia or 111 in New Zealand outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage range. There is also a demo mode in the SOS Emergency Settings app that allows users to get familiar with the service without contacting the emergency services.
With the service, Apple says users can send and receive messages in as little as 15 seconds in clear conditions. Users are asked to fill out a short questionnaire with vital information, and then the interface shows users where in the sky they need to point their iPhone to connect and send the initial message. This message includes the user’s questionnaire responses, location, altitude, iPhone battery level, and medical identification information, if configured.
Apple says the service is designed to work outdoors with a clear view of the sky. Apple advises that foliage or other obstructions may cause emergency messages to take longer or not to be delivered, and satellite connectivity may not work in places above 62° latitude, such as northern parts of Canada and Alaska.
In Australia and New Zealand, Emergency SOS via satellite is free for two years from today or upon activation of any iPhone 14 model. The service is also available in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland , Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.