Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

This is how your iPhone 14 will make those lifesaving SOS satellite calls

When Apple introduced the Emergency SOS via satellite feature in the iPhone 14 lineup in September, it said it wouldn’t be activated until sometime toward the end of the year. The company confirmed in a press release on Thursday that it is launching the service later this month for iOS users in the U.S. and Canada.

Emergency SOS via satellite will be powered in partnership with Globalstar, a global satellite company based in Covington, Louisiana, to help iPhone 14 users connect to an overhead satellite and reach out to emergency services while in remote areas away from cellular and Wi-Fi coverage — like forests or deserts. The service will be free for the first two years, but Apple hasn’t revealed how much it will cost afterward.

Related Videos
Someone holding an iPhone 14.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

“Emergency SOS via satellite is a perfect example of how American ingenuity and technology can save lives,” Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams said. “We are proud this service is enabled by leading U.S. companies, and that our users can explore off-the-grid areas knowing they are still within reach of emergency services if they are in need.”

The feature uses spectrum bands L and S in order to contact the overhead satellite. When you make an Emergency SOS request, you need to ensure the sky is clear enough to point your iPhone 14 in the right direction with the help of the on-screen UI to reach one of 24 Globalstar satellites orbiting Earth, which will then transmit the message to a ground station. Once the station receives the message, it will dispatch emergency services to your location. If the message is sent to an area where local emergency services don’t support text messages, Apple contractors working at relay centers will call them on your behalf.

Apple invested $450 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to provide the infrastructure to support Emergency SOS via satellite. Most of the funding will go to Globalstar, which has an existing partnership with Apple. New antennas have already been installed at all of Globalstar’s ground stations worldwide to provide the best coverage possible, including existing stations in Nevada, Hawaii, Texas, Florida, Alaska, and Puerto Rico.

Editors' Recommendations

What is 5G? Speeds, coverage, comparisons, and more
The 5G UW icon on the Samsung Galaxy S23.

It's been years in the making, but 5G — the next big chapter in wireless technology — is finally approaching the mainstream. While we haven't yet reached the point where it's available everywhere, nearly all of the best smartphones are 5G-capable these days, and you're far more likely to see a 5G icon lit up on your phone than not.

There's more to 5G than just a fancy new number, though. The technology has been considerably more complicated for carriers to roll out since it covers a much wider range of frequencies than older 4G/LTE technology, with different trade-offs for each. It's also a much farther-reaching wireless technology, promising the kind of global connectivity that was once merely a dream found in futuristic sci-fi novels.

Read more
6 years later, the iPhone X still does one thing better than the iPhone 14 Pro
iPhone X.

I’ve been an iPhone user since the very beginning, starting with the original iPhone. You know, the one with the 3.5-inch display that was perfect at the time, making it super easy to use a phone with one hand? As the years go by, the iPhone — and every other smartphone out there — just get bigger and bigger. We now have phones that with almost 7-inch displays, and honestly, I don’t understand how anyone can comfortably use these giant phones — especially if you have smaller hands!

With the iPhone, we’ve gone from 3.5-inch to 4-inches, then 4.7-inches to 5.8-inches, and now the standard 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch of the iPhone 14/iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Plus/iPhone 14 Pro Max, respectively. I personally use an iPhone 14 Pro as my primary device, and while I have gotten used to the 6.1-inch size over the past few years, I still think it’s too big. In fact, the last perfect size iPhone was the iPhone XS with the 5.8-inch display ... and I really wish Apple would bring it back.
5.8 inches was a perfect middle ground

Read more
I love the Galaxy S23 — here are 5 things the iPhone still does better
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and Apple iPhone 14 Pro

Samsung’s Galaxy S23 has arrived to the masses, and it’s one of the best Android phones you can get right now, especially the S23 Ultra. However, for those who don’t need all of the fancy bells and whistles, like the S Pen and 200MP main camera, the regular S23 is also plenty powerful for the average person, especially if you prefer smaller devices.

I’ve been using the Galaxy S23 for the past few weeks, and so far, my experience has been delightful. I know that it’s still early on in the year, but for me, the S23’s small size is perfect and comfortable. Android also does a lot of things better than iOS, like individual volume controls and notifications, for example. But I am still primarily using my iPhone 14 Pro — despite Apple having some big flaws, such as overprocessing images after you capture them.

Read more