Apple is releasing a satellite-based emergency SOS feature in Australia and New Zealand

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Apple made its emergency satellite communications features available to users in Australia and New Zealand on Monday. The company said users with an iPhone 14 in the region will be able to contact emergency services and share their location with friends and family in places without cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.

The iPhone maker announced the service with the iPhone 14 launch last September and first rolled it out in the US and Canada in November. Since then, the service has expanded to 12 countries and two more have been added today.

Apple said emergency satellite communications can be activated by quickly tapping the power button five times, holding down the power button and a volume button, or dialing 000. If a user is not connected, the system will guide them to use satellite communications by answering a short questionnaire about the emergency. This information along with the location will be sent to the coordinators to notify them of the situation.

The system also guides users to point the iPhone towards the satellite to send a message. The company said that due to the low bandwidth of the satellite communications, Apple compresses the message 3x so it can be sent quickly.

Image Credits: Apple

And if you’re taking an off-the-grid walk and want to inform your family about your location, you can share it through the Find My app, even when you’re not connected to a cellular or Wi-Fi network. To do that, open the “Me” tab and select “Send my location” under the “My location via satellite” section.

“Australians are well aware of the importance of staying connected in regional, rural and remote areas, especially when they need emergency services. The ability to contact Triple Zero via satellite with Emergency SOS when there is no mobile coverage is a strong back-up to keep Australians connected in the event of an emergency,” Australia’s Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland, said in a statement. a statement.

“This will go a long way in helping emergency services respond to, protect and ultimately protect individuals from harm. Australians are encouraged to familiarize themselves with this feature and whether their device supports it.

While Apple has expanded its satellite communication feature to 14 countries, rival phone manufacturers such as Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi will soon introduce this feature to their devices as well.

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