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Australian iPhone 14 owners can now tap into satellite networks to send emergency text messages when they have no coverage or WiFi, provided they have a clear view of the sky.
Dubbed Emergency SOS via satellite, the functionality was first announced in September, and has slowly been rolling out around the globe. Rather than sending a traditional text message, Emergency SOS via satellite connects users to relay centres staffed with Apple-trained emergency specialists who then contact emergency services on your behalf.
You can activate Emergency SOS via satellite by holding your iPhone's side button and one of its volume buttons. (Alternatively, it will fire up if you try calling Triple Zero when you have no reception.) You'll then fill out a questionnaire, and be prompted at where in the sky to point your iPhone. It can also notify your emergency contacts.
Emergency SOS via satellite is free for two years, from when a user activates it. Apple hasn't confirmed how much it will charge for the feature following the initial two-year period.
If you're going off the grid but don't have an emergency, the iPhone 14 also allows you to share your location via satellite using the Find my app.
All four iPhone 14 models have satellite connectivity. You'll need to be running iOS 16.4 to enable it.
iPhone 14 owners in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, the US, and the US are also able to use the feature. The functionality will work when travelling in countries where it's supported, regardless of where you bought your iPhone.
We're expecting to see flagship Android phones released in the second half of the year to have similar functionality. Dubbed Snapdragon Satellite, the Qualcomm-enabled service will also be designed for emergency services. it will let you message anyone, rather than just a relay centre.