What just happened? Apple has extended its Emergency SOS via satellite service for an additional year for iPhone 14 owners. The feature debuted in September 2022 on all iPhone 14 models and launched a month later. With it, users outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage can text with emergency services using satellites orbiting Earth that are operated by American satellite company Globalstar.
The feature can also be used to manually share you location with Find My to provide a sense of security while hiking or camping off the grid.
Two years of Emergency SOS via satellite service were included for free with the purchase of a new iPhone 14. Now, exactly one year after the service went live, Apple has extended it for an additional year for iPhone 14 users.
Kaiann Drance, Apple's VP of worldwide iPhone product marketing, said the service has already helped save lives around the world.
"From a man who was rescued after his car plummeted over a 400-foot cliff in Los Angeles, to lost hikers found in the Apennine Mountains in Italy, we continue to hear stories of our customers being able to connect with emergency responders when they otherwise wouldn't have been able to," Drance said.
The feature works in conjunction with other safety capabilities of the iPhone including crash detection, check in, and medical ID in the Health app.
Emergency SOS via satellite is also available on all iPhone 15 models, but Apple only announced the extension for iPhone 14 users.
Also worth noting is the fact that Apple has not put a price on the service yet. Perhaps the one year extension will allow them to better gauge its usefulness and value, leading to a justifiable price point. Seeing as it's one of those features that you probably wouldn't consider until it's needed, Apple could turn it into free perk for iPhone owners and market it as a differentiator among its rivals.
In related news, Apple also recently introduced roadside assistance via satellite that can connect users to AAA if they experience vehicle trouble while outside of cellular or Wi-Fi range. Apple said this service requires iOS 17, and that additional costs for certain roadside services provided by AAA may apply. Non-AAA members can utilize the service on a pay-per-use basis, we are told.