Apple announces the availability of its Emergency SOS service in France, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Starting today, any user of an iPhone 14 can communicate via satellite with the emergency services, without the need for a mobile network.
One of the star features of the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max is finally available in France: Emergency SOS with satellite connection. Apple had confirmed the arrival of this service in France last month. We also know that support for the service will be available in other countries in 2023.
SOS Emergency: notify emergency services without the need for a mobile network
The first feature available is Emergency SOS – it allows iPhone 14 users to send messages to emergency services without the need for Wi-Fi or a cellular network. Works with Medical ID and emergency contacts. Apple has hired people who act as a liaison between the user and emergency services. They must contact them to give them your position and your medical data (those entered in Medical ID).
A commendable initiative praised by Gary Machado, CEO of the European Association of Emergency Numbers, who states in Apple’s press release: ” In practice, this means that many more people will be able to call 112 when they do not have mobile coverage and need urgent help. We are confident that this will save many lives and offer significant assistance to the emergency services involved in these often very difficult rescues. »
The satellite emergency services contact can be activated without having to dial 112,” by pressing and holding the power and volume buttons, or by quickly pressing the power button five times “: Be careful when handling your iPhone. Otherwise, we can go to the iPhone interface, which invites us to complete a questionnaire in a few clicks. This is sent to the emergency services. To send it fast, ” the intuitive interface tells the user where to point their iPhone to connect and sends the initial message to access the nearest satellite. This information can also be transmitted with registered emergency contacts.
These satellites, however, have low bandwidth and are more than a thousand kilometers from Earth, so messages, even short ones, can take a few minutes to transmit “Specifies Apple in its press release. To get the fastest speed possible (without installing a huge antenna on the iPhone), Apple engineers designed specific hardware elements, fine-tuned the frequencies used, and ” a text compression algorithm that reduces the average size of messages by three “. Under favorable conditions, it could take 15 seconds to send or receive a message.
A demo of the satellite connection that anyone can try
Apple also says that all iPhone 14 users can try Emergency SOS to test their smartphone’s satellite connection. Fortunately, this does not communicate with the emergency services, it is only for ” get acquainted » with the interface, to be the fastest in case of emergency.
Please note that you need at least iOS 16.1 to use Emergency SOS and Find My. These services are free for two years for anyone who has bought an iPhone 14. A trial period that will therefore end in December 2024. Apple has not yet communicated the prices of the future subscription.
Find My by satellite: to inform your loved ones
Apple’s Find My app also has a new feature, which allows you to use the satellite connection to send your GPS position to loved ones, from a preconfigured list. Something that calms them down for a walk or a trip.
In its press release, the brand also specifies how to do it: users” You need to go to the app, open the Me tab, swipe to My Satellite Location, and then choose Send My Location “.
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