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Technology

Have an iPhone 14? How to send an emergency text when you don’t have a signal

Plenty of beautiful places beg to be explored, but many can be challenging to reach. Getting to that secluded spot, magical summit, or secret fishing location often means going off the beaten track.

But that poses several risks, such as losing your mobile phone signal. That’s why you need to be prepared for emergencies. Tap or click for 18 must-have items that help you survive any emergency.

Things might be so bad that you need to call an ambulance. But outside cell or Wi-Fi coverage, that can be impossible. Unless you have an iPhone 14. Keep reading to see how you can use the power of satellites to dispatch emergency services to your location.

Here’s the backstory

Before the launch of Apple’s iPhone 14, rumors suggested that the latest models would include built-in satellite capabilities. That turned out to be true, and while it has taken some time, the tech giant has activated the functionality. 

With an iPhone 14 or 14 Pro model, you can connect with emergency services when there are no other means, Apple explains in a blog post.

It goes on to say that when you call or text emergency services and can’t connect because you’re outside cellular and Wi-Fi coverage, the iPhone 14 will try to connect you through satellite services.

The functionality can be lifesaving, but you must know a few things. While it works on the same principle as mobile signals, it can take up to 15 seconds to send a text message. If you are stranded under trees or medium foliage, that time increases to over a minute. 

Making a phone call has similar constraints, as there will be a delay in sending voice communications and receiving audio. You might not even be able to send messages if you are under heavy foliage or surrounded by other obstructions.

How to use Apple’s Emergency SOS service

Emergency SOS through satellite services is free for two years after you activate your iPhone 14. But before you head out or find yourself needing it, you should look at the settings and go through a demo.

Here’s how you can do this:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap Emergency SOS.
  • Under Emergency SOS via satellite, tap Try Demo, then follow the onscreen instructions.

The service is available to anybody in the U.S. and Canada with an iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro. It might not work in places above 62 degrees latitude, such as northern parts of Canada and Alaska.

If you need to contact emergency services, follow these tips to help connect your iPhone to a satellite:

  • Hold your phone naturally. You don’t need to raise your arm or hold your phone up, but don’t put it in your pocket or backpack.
  • Ensure you’re outside with a clear view of the sky and horizon.
  • Be aware that trees with light foliage might slow down the connection, and dense foliage might block it. Hills, mountains, canyons, and tall structures can block the connection.
  • Your iPhone provides guidance if you need to turn left or right or move to avoid a blocked signal. Just follow the onscreen instructions.
  • The satellite connection can be maintained even if your phone screen is locked.

Here’s how to text emergency services via satellite:

Image source: Apple
  • First, try calling emergency services. Even if your regular cellular carrier network isn’t available, you might be able to make the call.
  • If your call doesn’t connect, you can text emergency services via satellite:
    • Tap Emergency Text via Satellite.
    • You can also go to Messages to text 911 or SOS, then tap Emergency Services.
  • Tap Report Emergency.
  • Using simple taps, answer the emergency questions to describe your situation. 
  • Choose to notify your emergency contacts that you contacted emergency services, along with your location and the nature of your emergency.
  • To connect to a satellite, follow the onscreen instructions.
  • After you’re connected, continue following the onscreen instructions to stay connected while you send your message to emergency services.

Once connected, your iPhone begins a text conversation with emergency responders by sharing vital information like your Medical ID and emergency contact information (if you have set them up), the emergency questionnaire answers, your location (including elevation), and the remaining battery life for your iPhone.

Keep reading

Best smartwatches for emergency situations (SOS mode)

Eight essential apps you don’t want to be without in an emergency

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