Apple launches emergency satellite calls in France

Presented with great fanfare during the launch of the iPhone 14 range, the satellite emergency call functionality is finally open in France, as well as in the United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland. These markets benefit from the function two months after the United States and Canada, the first countries concerned.

Simple operation

Emergency SOS via satellite is rolling out to all iPhone 14 models running iOS 16.1. The service will be accessible as soon as the user is in an area where wifi and mobile coverage is non-existent. Being unable to call 112, the iPhone will recommend that the person in danger send a message by satellite.

Once the connection has been established, a questionnaire must be completed on the type of emergency, the person(s) needing help, the presence of one or more injured persons, or even on the location. All this with the aim of directing the emergency services as well as possible. The iPhone will then indicate how to orient under the satellite closest to the position. This one found, it will be necessary to wait a few seconds before the initial message can be transmitted. The questionnaire will also be shared with the services concerned, such as the relay centres. A transcript may also be sent to the user’s contacts to keep them informed of the situation.

Apple specifies that sending a message may take several minutes, even if the delay will be as short as possible. In fact, the satellites “move fast, have little bandwidth and evolve more than 1000 km from the Earth”. So that the user can see how SOS communications work, the Cupertino company has integrated a demo which obviously will not contact the emergency services.

The new functionality also makes it possible to share its position by satellite in an area without coverage, out of any danger. This all happens in the Find My app. The service is free for two years. After this period, the rate applied to SOS communications has still not been communicated by Apple.

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