How to use emergency SOS via satellite feature on iPhone

Apple’s iPhone 14 series debuted the Emergency SOS via satellite feature. This crucial feature was initially released in the US and Canada, but there are plans to release it in other countries later. NextPit shows you how to use and activate satellite emergency SOS on compatible iPhones.

For those who don’t know what Emergency SOS via satellite means, it’s simple: iPhone 14 allows users to contact emergency services if there is no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage available in the area. This is made possible by a new chip that connects to low-orbit satellites. In this guide, our team simulated a test in Hawaii during the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 official release event.

Last but not least, to use this feature on your iPhone, you must first be in a country where the service is readily available. Second, your iPhone must be supported. All iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models have this feature. More importantly, you have to be outside to have a direct connection to a satellite.

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How to use the Emergency SOS via satellite on your iPhone 14 series

Hopefully you found this tutorial long before you needed it. The first thing to know is that you cannot test the feature through a made-up call. However, Apple anticipated this and created a demo in iOS 16 so you can familiarize yourself with the steps.

Therefore, in the following steps we share with you how to access the demo that explains how the Emergency SOS via satellite function works, so that you know how to act in case of an emergency:

  1. First open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Emergency SOS.
  3. Scroll down to Emergency SOS via satellite.
  4. Tap Try demo.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to connect to a satellite.

Once connected to a satellite, you can familiarize yourself with the interface and features such as describing the scene and sharing your location. Presetting medical IDs and emergency contacts from the settings can also help responders by streamlining the process.

Screenshots showing how to use the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature on an iPhone 14 Pro

Apple offers a demonstration of Emergency SOS via Satellite so you can prepare for any situation in advance. / ©NextPit

Emergency SOS via satellite in action: share location, medical ID and more

In a real situation, you don’t need to follow the steps provided. Emergency SOS prioritizes cellular and Wi-Fi calling and establishes a satellite connection only when the first two are not available via a Emergency text via satellite button on a call screen.

For the actual case of using this feature, the user interface you see will be very similar to the one we show in the images shared by Apple below, and you need to follow these steps:

  1. Make a call to emergency services, even if your normal mobile network is not available.
  2. Since your call won’t connect, tap the Emergency Text via Satellite button. (It’s also possible to go directly to the Messages app and text 911 or SOS.)
  3. Tap Report emergency.
  4. The system now offers a ton of options and you have to choose the answers that best apply to your situation with a simple tap.
  5. Important: you may also choose to notify your emergency contacts that you have contacted emergency services, along with your location and the nature of your emergency.
  6. Then follow the on-screen instructions to stay connected while sending your message to emergency services.

When it comes to your privacy, Apple says that the Emergency SOS SMS service is encrypted via satellite, but is also “decrypted by Apple for transmission to the relevant emergency service or 911 call center.” In addition, Apple also clarifies that the messages can be retained by emergency centers and the relay provider to improve their services.

Which country provides the iPhone Emergency SOS via satellite connection

Apple launched this satellite connection earlier this month in the US and Canada. It was planned to be added to other countries such as the UK and Germany alongside iPhone 14 devices in December 2022. Here is the full list of countries where iPhone emergency SOS via satellite is (will be) available:

Country Availability
United States November 2022
Canada November 2022
Germany December 2022
France December 2022
UK December 2022
Ireland December 2022

It is also pertinent to note that only Latin characters (such as English or French) are supported in these messages. And until November 29, the service only supported US English, US Spanish, and Canadian French.

How much does it cost to use emergency SOS via satellite?

At the moment, the satellite connection feature is available for free on all iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models. You get two years of free service from the activation of your device. Apple has not yet disclosed how much it will charge users once the free period ends.

Messages aside, it remains unclear whether Apple will add new features such as image sending similar to what Samsung plans to announce on the Galaxy S23. What other features do you think Apple should add to continue improving Satellite Emergency SOS?