It has been a year since Apple enabled emergency SOS via satellite on all iPhone 14 units in the US. The feature lets users text emergency services for help when they don’t have cell service. The company is offering two years of free access upon activating an iPhone 14 or iPhone 15.
Apple has not said how much it will charge for the feature when the free access period ends. However, users won’t have to worry about that for a couple more years. Apple says existing iPhone 14 users (i.e. those who activated their phone before Wednesday in a country where the service is available) will get free access for an extra year.
“Emergency SOS via satellite has helped save lives around the world. From a man who was rescued after his car plummeted over a 400-foot cliff in Los Angeles to lost hikers found in the Apennine Mountains in Italy, we continue to hear stories of our customers being able to connect with emergency responders when they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to,” Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of worldwide iPhone product marketing, said. “We are so happy iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 users can take advantage of this groundbreaking service for two more years for free.”
Apple is extending the free access period for many users not long after it emerged that Qualcomm’s bid to offer a similar feature on Android devices has sputtered out. Iridium, its partner on the Snapdragon Satellite project, said smartphone makers have opted not to include the tech in their devices. Qualcomm noted that OEMs are looking for “standards-based solutions.” The costs involved in the initiative may have put them off too.