As part of its ongoing efforts to enhance user safety, Apple has announced the availability of Emergency SOS via Satellite in six new countries – Austria, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Portugal. This feature, which allows users to call for emergency services even without a cellular connection, requires the latest iOS 16.4 update to be installed on the iPhone 14.
Since its launch in November last year, Emergency SOS via Satellite has been available exclusively to iPhone 14 models in the U.S. and Canada. It is important to note that only the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max models support this feature, and users must have the iOS 16.4 update to use the Emergency SOS via Satellite in the newly added countries.
Emergency SOS via Satellite is a service that connects iPhone 14 devices to Globalstar satellites in areas without cellular or Wi-Fi coverage. This feature, which is now available in six more countries, allows users to send text messages to emergency services. After activating an iPhone 14, users can enjoy this service for free for two years. This period has now started for people in the newly supported countries.
Apple’s iOS 16.4 update automatically reroutes emergency calls to 112, the European emergency number, in countries where Emergency SOS via Satellite is now available: Austria, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Portugal.
It’s worth noting that this feature is free to use for two years after activating an iPhone 14. The two-year period will begin for users in the newly supported countries as of the release of the iOS 16.4 update. However, there are limitations to the service. For example, satellite connectivity might not work in areas above 62° latitude, such as northern parts of Canada and Alaska, and obstructions like foliage can impact message delivery.
Apple first launched Emergency SOS via Satellite in the U.S. and Canada in November 2022 and later expanded the service to France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK in December 2022. To take advantage of the feature, users need to have an iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, or iPhone 14 Pro Max. It’s important for iPhone users to review Apple’s support document for full details on this feature before using it in emergency situations.