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Apple is launching its iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via satellite in the US and Canada

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Apple has officially launched its highly anticipated Emergency SOS via satellite in the United States and Canada, allowing iPhone 14 users to send text messages in case of an emergency while out of range of cellular and Wi-Fi.

The messages are sent in about 15 seconds if the user has a direct view of the sky and horizon, but the call for help can take longer if there are obstacles such as forests or mountains nearby.

While the price for the service hasn’t been announced yet, it will be free to users for two years — industry experts speculate Apple wants to see how it’s used before setting a price.

The service is possible through 24 Globalstar satellites, with users pointing their iPhones to the sky to connect to one of the devices which then sends their message to the nearest monitoring station.

While the Tuesday rollout is only in the US and Canada, Emergency SOS will be available in France, Germany, Ireland and the UK in December.

Apple has officially launched its Emergency SOS via satellite service in the US and Canada

The service allows users to connect to any of 24 satellites in low orbit to send a message while in a dead zone

The service allows users to connect to any of 24 satellites in low orbit to send a message while in a dead zone

Apple has officially launched its Emergency SOS via satellite service in the US and Canada that allows users to connect to one of 24 satellites in low orbit to send a message while in a dead zone

Apple uses satellite internet to save lives

Apple’s Emergency SOS services send messages within 15 seconds, but this may take longer during inclement weather or obstacles such as mountains.

Once users connect to a satellite, they are presented with a questionnaire asking about their emergency.

The message will be sent to the nearest dispatcher or a transfer center with Apple-trained emergency response specialists if the dispatcher is unable to receive text messages.

The message includes the user’s location, medical ID, emergency contact, and their iPhone battery life

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said: “Some of the most popular places to travel are off the beaten path and simply don’t have cell coverage.

“With Emergency SOS via satellite, the iPhone 14 lineup provides an indispensable tool for users to get the help they need while they are unavailable.”

The service is available for the iPhone 14 range which includes the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The emergency messages — which appear in gray as opposed to the default green or blue — automatically share your medical ID and emergency contact information (if you’ve set them up), your location, answers to the emergency questionnaire, and your iPhone’s remaining battery life .

The new feature was introduced in September along with the new iPhone 14 series.

When a user needs help outside of mobile range, they point their smartphone at the sky to connect to one of the 24 satellites.

A short questionnaire appears to help the user answer vital questions with a few simple taps, which is sent to dispatchers in the first message to ensure they can quickly understand a user’s situation and location.

The questionnaire pops up on the smartphone and first asks users “what’s the emergency,” allowing them to choose from: car or vehicle problem, illness or injury, crime, lost or trapped, and fire.

Messages with the new feature will be grayed out in the text box, allowing users to communicate with the monitoring center

Messages with the new feature are grayed out in the text box, allowing users to communicate with the monitoring station

Users are first sent a questionnaire about their calamity, which is also sent to the emergency room

Users are first sent a questionnaire about their calamity, which is also sent to the emergency room

Messages with the new feature will be grayed out in the text box, allowing users to communicate with the monitoring center after sending a questionnaire about their emergency

The next slide on the display asks if it’s you, someone else or several people who need help and then the feature asks if anyone is hurt.

One of the sections of the questionnaire asks if any of these apply and shows Steep Terrain, Water or a Cave.

Assistance messages can be sent without service and contain the user's location

Help messages can be sent without service and contain the user's location

Help messages can be sent without service and contain the user’s location

Apple said it was working closely with experts to review standard questions and protocols to identify the most common reasons for calling emergency services.

The questionnaire and follow-up messages are sent directly via satellite to dispatchers who accept text messages, or to centers staffed by Apple-trained specialists who can call for assistance on behalf of the user.

The transcript can also be shared with the user’s emergency contacts to keep them informed.

Apple designed and built custom components and software that allow iPhone 14 to connect to a satellite’s unique frequencies without a bulky antenna.

A text compression algorithm has also been developed to reduce the average message size by 300 percent, making the experience as fast as possible.

Laurene Anderson, NENA: The president of the 9-1-1 Association and Charlotte County, Florida’s E911 manager, said in a statement: “Emergency SOS via satellite will not only be useful for those living in rural areas without cellular coverage.” , but also for those who find themselves in the path of a natural disaster that shuts down mobile networks.

“It allows members in affected communities to connect to 911 and get help, which is our mission.”