Apple launches satellite communication features for iPhone 14 users in Australia and New Zealand

Apple has launched its emergency satellite communication features for iPhone 14 users in Australia and New Zealand on Monday, allowing them to contact emergency services and share their location with friends and family in places with no cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.

The company announced the service with the iPhone 14 launch last September and first rolled it out in the U.S. and Canada in November. Since then the service has expanded to 12 countries with two more being added today.

Apple said that users with iPhone 14 in the region can activate the emergency communication through satellite features by rapidly tapping the power button five times, holding the power and a volume button, or dialing 000. If a user doesn’t have any connectivity, the system will guide them to use satellite communications by answering a short questionnaire about the emergency. This info along with the location is sent to dispatchers intimating them about the situation.

The system also guides users to point the iPhone in the direction of the satellite to send a message. The company said because of the low bandwidth of the satellite communications, Apple compresses the message by 3x so it could be sent quickly.

Additionally, users can share their location with their family and friends through the Find My app even if they are not connected to a cellular or a Wi-Fi network. To do that, users can open the “Me” tab and select “Send My Location” under the “My Location via Satellite” section.

“Australians know full well the importance of remaining connected in regional, rural, and remote areas, particularly when they need emergency services. The ability to contact Triple Zero with Emergency SOS via satellite when there is no mobile coverage is a strong backup to keep Australians connected in an emergency,” Australia’s minister of communications, Michelle Rowland, said in a statement.

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

Apple’s satellite communication features are currently available in 14 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, U.K., and U.S. The company said it plans to expand the service to more countries and regions in the future. Meanwhile, other phone makers such as Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi are also reportedly working on similar features for their devices.

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