During their launch event this week, Apple announced the arrival of the latest iPhone and Apple Watches, which feature a series of transformative new emergency response features.
The new safety features, ranging from automobile crash detection to emergency SOS via satellite, present a massive opportunity for first responders and emergency call centers to leverage new data and save lives.
Didn’t get a chance to follow the announcement live? See below for a quick recap and breakdown of Apple’s newly announced emergency response features.
Featuring Lives Saved
Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the launch event with stories in which Apple Watch has communicated with first responders across the country to help save lives.
The event then transitioned to highlight additional emergency response features.
The latest Apple iPhones and Watch will automatically detect a car crash and notify 911 by connecting via voice and passing data into 911.
When Apple Watch detects a severe car crash, the device will check in with the user and dial 911 if they are unresponsive.
ECCs will receive the user’s device location, which can also be shared with the user’s emergency contacts.
If the user has set up their Medical ID, they will also have the option to provide that data to emergency responders.
When a severe car crash is detected, the 911 call interface will appear on Apple Watch, as it is most likely to be in closer proximity to the user, while an emergency call is placed through iPhone if it is in range for the best possible connection.
If the user is unable to respond to the alert after a 20-second delay, their device will automatically call emergency services.
This feature will be available on the new iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8.
Additionally, the latest Apple iPhone 14 will have the ability to send an Emergency SMS via satellite when users are out of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage.
Emergency SOS via satellite can help users connect with emergency services under exceptional circumstances when no other means of reaching emergency services are available.
If a user calls or texts emergency services and can’t connect because they are outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage, their iPhone will try to connect them via satellite to emergency services.
According to Apple, connectivity can take 15 seconds to up to a minute to send based on satellite visibility.
After contacting emergency services via Emergency SOS, ECCs will receive the user’s device location and, if provided, their Medical ID data.
The service will only be available in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and Canada and Apple cautions that Emergency SOS via satellite might not work in places above 62° latitude, such as northern parts of Canada and Alaska.
The emergency message will be transmitted to SMS capable ECCs via SMS. ECCs that are not yet text capable will receive a phone call from a voice relay center.
Emergency SOS via satellite will be available on iPhone 14 with an iOS 16 software update coming in November 2022.
We have heard countless stories from our ECC partners where Apple devices and information available on the RapidSOS Platform (location, health/medical info, etc.) has helped first responders save lives. We are excited about how Apple’s new features will give people more ways of getting help and provide first responders with more information when it matters most.
Interested in learning more about these new safety features and how they work? Apple is hosting a series of exclusive webinars for Telecommunications, Dispatchers, and other emergency communications professionals on September 27, 2022 at 10am EST and September 29, 2022 at 10am PST where they will walk through the features, provide links to training and other resources, and take your questions.