With the iOS 16.1 update, Apple introduced a new feature called Emergency SOS via Satellite. Compatible with iPhone 14 series phones, it lets users contact emergency services in areas with no cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.
According to a recent report by MacRumors, a man recently put the feature to test when he was stranded in a rural part of the state of Alaska. On December 1, Alaska State Troopers said they received a message that a man, who was travelling by a snow machine from Noorvik to Kotzebue was stuck in a remote location with no cellular connectivity.
The Apple Emergency Response Center team said they worked with local authorities and rescue teams along with the Northwest Arctic Borough Search and Rescue Coordinator and sent several volunteers to the GPS coordinates received by Apple when the man sent the SOS message.
Soon after, rescue authorities found him pretty close to where he shared his location. The man was successfully rescued and had no injuries. While Apple said satellite connectivity might not be available in places where the latitude is above 62 degrees, the feature worked without any hiccups in Noorvik and Kotzebue, which are close to 69-degree latitude.
The troopers who saved the man said they were ‘impressed with the accuracy and completeness of information included in the initial alert’. The Emergency Satellite via SOS feature is currently available for all iPhone 14 series owners and can be used in locations with no cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.
Apple has said that the feature will be free to use for the first two years, but is yet to give any information on how much it will cost after that. While satellite connectivity is currently limited to North America, it will soon be available in other countries like France, Ireland, Germany and UK among others.