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Sometime later this month, Apple will officially launch the feature that lets iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro users connect and communicate with satellites during emergencies. Apple will formally launch its Emergency SOS Via Satellite Feature for a fee in the United States and Canada, but only after two years. It will be a free service for every iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro user for the first two years.

Users of the iPhone 14 can connect to a satellite overhead when they are without cell coverage to send a quick text message of emergency and communicate their position with loved ones. As part of the Advanced Manufacturing Fund, Apple announced a $450 million commitment to enable satellite functionalities. Globalstar’s business in charge of operating the satellites will receive a large portion of that money.

The United States and Canada will be the first countries to offer emergency SOS through satellite. For the first two years, the service is provided without charge; the cost after that period has not yet been disclosed. Although Apple has not confirmed specifics of any more rollouts, it is anticipated to appear in other regions early next year. L and S spectrum bands are used in emergency SOS communications with satellites in orbit.

The system works because an on-screen UI will assist the user in pointing their phone in the right direction. The iPhone user will need a clear sky view to connect to a satellite. The iPhone 14 will communicate with one of the 24 Globalstar satellites orbiting the planet thanks to the Apple-Globalstar partnership.

Then, a message is sent to ground stations via the satellite. The message will be routed to local emergency services if it is sent to an area where those services support SMS communication. If not, relay center workers employed by Apple will contact them on your behalf.

Satellite connectivity may also be utilized to send the person’s position to the Find My app and SOS text messages. Customers of the iPhone 14 will be able to use these features in a few weeks. Uncertainty surrounds whether the function will be available as part of iOS 16.1 with a server-side change or call for a software update.

In the years to come, this feature will be made available in countries allowing such private satellite connections. In India, though, telcos and smartphone manufacturers do not have such clearances yet so the feature won’t work. That said, several telcos in India and smartphone manufacturers are trying to get permits for satellite connectivity in India.

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