The iPhone 14 series can communicate with emergency services via satellite. While the feature won’t be available until November, Apple is ready to roll it out in iOS 16.1, which will also include a “satellite connectivity demo” feature so users can try satellites without actually calling emergency services to connect.
Apple released iOS 16.1 beta 3 to developers on Tuesday. By analyzing internal documents updated today, 9to5Mac found that Apple has added several satellite communications-related features to the iPhone 14 models (not yet enabled).
It’s unclear if SOS via satellite will be available in iOS 16.1, as the update is expected to roll out to the public in October, and Apple says the satellite feature will be available in November. However, iOS 16.1 beta 3 also revealed something that wasn’t mentioned before: a “satellite connection demo” feature.
With this feature, users will be able to see how SOS via satellite works without having to go to remote areas without Wi-Fi and cellular signal to test. The code seen by 9to5Mac suggests that the demo feature works in much the same way as SOS via satellite, so it can also guide users on how to use it in real life.
The code says, “Try the satellite connection demo. Learn how to connect to a satellite in an emergency. You can try the demo at any time by going to Settings > Emergency SOS.” Once the satellite connectivity demo is available, it can be accessed at any time through the SOS menu in the Settings app. Users will need to be outside and have a clear view of the sky to connect to the satellite.
Of course, when you connect your iPhone to the satellite using the demo feature, it doesn’t actually call emergency services. This is extremely important so that people don’t call these services out of fun or curiosity. Notably, an emergency call via satellite sends a text message with the device’s location to emergency services or a relay center.