On Monday, Apple’s emergency satellite communication features were made available to its users in Australia and New Zealand. Apple said that iPhone 14 users in the region can contact emergency services and share their location with friends and family in areas where cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity is unavailable.
The service was announced with the release of the iPhone 14 last September, and it was first made available in the United States and Canada in November. Since then, the service has grown to 12 countries, with two more joining today.
According to Apple, emergency communication through satellite features could be rapidly activated when the power button is tapped five times, holding the power and a volume button, or dialing 000.
If a user does not have access to the internet, the system will direct them to use satellite communications by completing a brief questionnaire about the emergency. This information, along with the location, is sent to dispatchers to alert them to the situation.
Image credit: Apple
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The system also directs users to point their iPhones at the satellite in order to send a message. According to the company, due to the low bandwidth of satellite communications, Apple compresses the message by 3x so that it can be sent quickly.
Furthermore, if you’re on an off-the-grid hike and want to notify your family of your location, you can do so via the Find My app even if you’re not connected to a cellular or Wi-Fi network. To do so, go to the “Me” tab and choose “Send My Location” from the “My Location via Satellite” section.
“Australians know full well the importance of remaining connected in regional, rural, and remote areas, particularly when they need emergency services. The ability to contact Triple Zero with Emergency SOS via satellite when there is no mobile coverage is a strong backup to keep Australians connected in an emergency,” Australia’s minister of communications, Michelle Rowland, said in a statement.
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“This will go a long way in helping emergency services respond to, protect, and ultimately, keep individuals safe from harm. Australians are encouraged to familiarise themselves with this feature and whether their device supports it.”
In response to Apple’s feat and expansion of its satellite communication feature to 14 countries, rival phone makers like Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi are not just watching on the sidelines as these tech giants are also set to debut this feature in their devices soon.
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