Apple has decided to extend the free Satellite Emergency features for iPhone 14 users by another two years. Apple introduced the life-saving feature in the US and Canada a year ago. At its debut, Apple announced that the feature would be free for a year. Now, they have extended it further. It is worth noting that the offer is valid only if your iPhone 14 was activated before November 15, 2023.
The Emergency SOS via satellite debuted with iPhone 14 and is now available on iPhone 15. People in distress can contact emergency services with the help of the feature. The best part is that it works even in areas without network coverage since the feature uses satellite. Recently, Apple added a Roadside Assistance feature that is powered by satellite.
It looks like Apple is delaying the decision to charge for the satellite feature. In fact, the iPhone 14 users free satellite emergency access would have ended next year. Meanwhile, tough luck for iPhone 15 users or folks who will buy iPhone 14 in the future. After the announcement, the free satellite access for iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 users will end at roughly the same time, i.e., 2024.
The Emergency SOS feature has saved many lives globally. In fact, Apple decided to shoot a montage with iPhone and Apple Watch users whose lives have been saved by this tech. The company remarks how a man was rescued after his car plunged into a 400-foot cliff in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, hikers in the Appendine Mountains, Italy, used the feature to contact emergency responders.
Why Is the Satellite SOS Emergency Feature Such a Big Deal?
Over the years, Apple’s Emergency features have improved significantly. A recent patent details how they plan to use multiple devices for fall detection input. iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 users can share their locations with family and friends via satellite. In other words, Apple has democratized the use of satellite connectivity during life-threatening emergencies. However, adding an access fee for emergency satellite features might deter users, and Apple could face a backlash. Lastly, it is only available in a handful of countries, and I wish Apple added support to other countries as well.