Emergency SOS via satellite could soon expand to more countries

Apple’s new Emergency SOS via satellite feature could come to other countries later this year, with additional ones following sometime in 2023.

iPhone 14 closeup showing the green Emergency Text via Satellite button on the calling screen
Emergency SOS works in the US and Canada at launch. Image: Apple/YouTube
  • What’s happening? Sources say that Emergency SOS via satellite could expand to more countries later this year, and additional ones sometime in 2023.
  • Why care? Emergency SOS via satellite is a feature that could potentially save your life, but is it available in your country?
  • What to do? If Emergency SOS via satellite is unavailable in your country, maybe not go hiking in areas without a cellular signal where 911 can’t be reached?

Emergency SOS via satellite could hit more countries soon

Emergency SOS via satellite is launching on the iPhone 14 family in November. The feature will be limited to the United States and Canada at launch, but German-language MacPrime claims that Apple will bring it to additional countries later in 2022 and in 2023. The report doesn’t name countries that will get this feature.

Of course, there’s nothing terribly surprising about it.

Certain Apple features first launch for US-based customers before slowly expanding internationally, like Apple News and Apple Pay. For Emergency SOS via satellite, Apple partners with companies that provide satellite connectivity.

To make the feature more widely available, Apple will need to cut more deals with satellite connectivity providers, which takes time. But make no mistake about it, this is one of those features that’ll eventually become available to all users.

What is Emergency SOS via satellite and how does it work?

Composition showing an iPhone 14 with Emergency SOS via satellite in the foreground, with a space shot of Earth along with an orbiting satellite in the background
Composition: Christian Zibreg/iDB | Earth image: Apple/YouTube

As its name hints, Emergency SOS via satellite uses special radios in the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pros to establish a direct link with a low-earth orbiting satellite. The user is prompted to use it when there’s no cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity and emergency calls fail. Read: How to set up emergency contacts on iPhone

You must point your handset in the direction of the closest satellite, as instructed by onscreen prompts. You’ll also need to respond to a few questions assessing your situation to speed up the process. You’ll receive a confirmation message and can then text emergency services with any further details.

The feature is free for the first two years. After that, you’ll need to pay to continue using satellite connectivity for Emergency SOS though Apple hasn’t said how much. Read: How to use Apple’s new Emergency SOS via satellite feature

The feature is not available on older iPhones.