One of the biggest announcements from Apple’s iPhone 14 launch event involved the company’s potentially groundbreaking Emergency SOS via Satellite feature — but until now, we’d heard very little about when it might actually arrive.
In a new support post (opens in new tab) (H/T MacRumors) (opens in new tab)), Apple says Emergency SOS via Satellite “will be available with an iOS 16 software update in November 2022.” iOS 16.1 was rolled out in late October and iOS 16.2 is expected to launch in December, so the life-saving feature could come with iOS 16.1.1 in the coming weeks.
The betas of iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 are already out in the wild, and we know Apple is preparing to roll out a fix for a persistent Wi-Fi bug that has plagued iPhone 14 customers since the launch of iOS 16.1. So for our money, Emergency SOS via Satellite will arrive on the iPhone 14 along with this imminent software patch.
To refresh your memory, Apple says the new feature will help you contact emergency services in “exceptional circumstances” when there’s no other way to reach them. If you’re out of range of cell phones and Wi-Fi, your iPhone will connect you via satellite with the help you need – or try to do.
The feature is coming to all four iPhone 14 models — including the iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max — but only in the US and Canada to begin with. It is expected to be rolled out in other countries by the end of 2023.
Apple says Emergency SOS via satellite will be free for all iPhone 14 users for the first two years after launch, suggesting the feature could require a subscription fee or payment-per-use by the end of 2024.
Messages sent via satellite via Emergency SOS can reach their destination in just 15 seconds, Apple claims, but only when “a direct view of the sky and horizon” is in place.
Messages processed “under trees with light or medium leaves” can take over a minute to send – but hey, if you’re out in the wilderness with a broken leg, one message per minute is better than no messages at all, right ?
Hopefully we’ll be able to test Emergency SOS via Satellite on iPhone 14 for ourselves—safely, of course—when the feature goes live later this month. In the meantime, check out our report on the iPhone 14 Pro’s ‘incredible’ repairability and our roundup of the best iPhone 14 Black Friday deals available right now.