Apple Launches Satellite-Based Emergency Service in Australia

The feature connects users to emergency services even without Wi-Fi or network connection

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

May 16, 2023

2 Min Read
The service uses Globalstar's satellite network. Credit: Apple

Apple has launched its satellite-based emergency SOS feature in Australia and New Zealand. The tool allows users to message emergency services and share their location with friends and family even when out of cellular or Wi-Fi range.

The new feature has been integrated into all iPhone 14 models, allowing the phones to connect directly to satellites and share information on a user’s whereabouts.

When using the interface, customers will get a brief questionnaire on their phone that collects information on their situation and needs, as well as phone battery level and Medical ID. The responses are then transmitted to dispatchers or emergency contacts in the user’s phone.

Apple built in custom components and software to its iPhone series 14 to enable satellite connection without an antenna. Apple’s new software also compresses emergency messages by three times so they can be sent more rapidly than traditional texts.

“Australians know full well the importance of remaining connected in regional, rural, and remote areas, particularly when they need emergency services,” said Michelle Rowland, Australia’s minister of communications. “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.” 

Apple first announced the service last September alongside the launch of its iPhone 14. It was then rolled out first in the U.S. and Canada in November. Since then,12 additional countries have received the service, not including Australia and New Zealand.

The service uses Globalstar’s satellite constellation, which Apple has partially funded through its Advanced Manufacturing Fund. The company announced a $450 million investment into the Emergency SOS service last November, with the majority going towards creating custom antennas and ground stations in the Globalstar network. 

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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