How to use new iPhone 14 emergency SOS text via satellite function

How to use new iPhone 14 emergency SOS text via satellite function

apple on tuesday flipped the switch to activate satellite emergency SOS on all iPhone 14 models. The new feature is essentially the same as text messaging with emergency responders, but instead of using cellular or Wi-Fi, you use satellite to send messages in both meaning.

Before you can use the new feature, make sure your iPhone 14 is running the latest version of iOS 16.1 or higher.

Apple began rolling out the feature on November 15, without the need for an additional app or software update.

Once your phone has access, you’ll see a notification badge on the Settings app and an item labeled “Get help in an emergency.”

Another way to check if your iPhone 14 has the feature is to open the Settings the app and go to Emergency S.O.S.. Then scroll down the page where you will see Satellite Emergency SOS and an option to try a demo (more on that in a minute).

Also: New iPhone 14 models compared: which one to buy?

Satellite emergency SOS used on iPhone

Image: Apple

How to Use Satellite Emergency SOS

If you ever find yourself in an emergency situation and in an area with no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage, you begin the process to contact emergency services by dialing 911. Your iPhone’s call screen will notify you you don’t have coverage. to make the call, then a green message button with a red SOS sign will appear. The button is labeled Satellite Emergency Text; press it.

Alternatively, you can open the Messages app and start a text message thread to 911 and select Emergency services.

Next, you will be asked five questions about your situation which will then be shared with first responders. The first question will ask what type of emergency you are having. Next, you will be asked who needs help and if anyone is hurt, a list of emergency descriptions to choose from (stuck, trapped, lost, other). Finally, you are asked if you are on steep terrain, in water, a cave, or if nothing else applies.

SOS by satellite questions

Image: Apple

After answering the emergency questions, you will be asked if you want to alert your emergency contacts. If you select yes, anyone you’ve added as an emergency contact in the Health app will receive an alert containing your location, your quiz responses, and will receive live updates of all messages between you and emergency responders.

The whole process is simple and streamlined, mirroring a typical text message conversation. The biggest and most important difference, however, is that you’re connected to a satellite about 850 miles above the earth.

With that in mind, it’s important that you follow the instructions on your iPhone to make sure your phone is connected to the satellite. To help you keep the line of communication open, you’ll see a radar-like circle, with the top part of it showing an area that turns green when your phone is pointed and connected to the satellite.

Again, when sending and receiving messages, it’s essential that you keep your phone pointed in the right direction or the messages won’t get through. Sending a message can take up to 30-45 seconds in my briefing tests, possibly longer depending on how strong the connection you have with the satellite.

Also: iOS 16: Here’s how easy it is to edit or delete messages in the Messages app

Demo for emergency SOS via satellite function

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

This all sounds great, but how can I try this out before I need to use it? Demo mode!

Do you remember the demo mode I mentioned at the beginning of this story? Well, this gives you a chance to try out what it’s like to send and receive messages while still connected to a satellite. It’s a good idea to go through the demo process at least once in order to get familiar with how it all works, and that way if you ever need to use the feature you’re already familiar with.

To access the demo, open the Settings appselect Emergency SOS in the list of options, then scroll to the bottom of the screen where you will find a section for Satellite Emergency SOS. Faucet Try the demo then follow the instructions.

You’ll learn how and when the feature is used, how to properly align your phone with a satellite, and eventually a fake conversation with an emergency responder will be shown to you. However, the messages you send and receive in demo mode really go between your phone and the satellite.

You can send and receive messages until you feel like you have the general idea. After which, you can end the demo.

Also: How to add your driver’s license to the Apple Wallet app (and why you should)

Use a satellite to update your Location

Another feature that takes advantage of the iPhone 14 range’s satellite connectivity is updating your location in the Find My app when you’re in an area with no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage.

Satellite emergency SOS find my location

Image: Apple

To update your location for friends and family members you share in the Locate app using a satellite, open the find my the application, select the application Me , then swipe up to see all options. There is a section called *My location via satellite which will become active once your phone loses any sort of standard connection.

You can use this method to update your location every 15 minutes. Your Find My friends will see a satellite icon next to your Find My avatar to let them know you’re in an area with no signal.

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