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Apple‘s Emergency SOS via satellite feature is about to get a boost through a new collaboration between the service’s provider Globalstar and Elon Musk‘s SpaceX. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by the satellite technology firm from Covington, it will pay SpaceX $64 million to assist it in the launch of the satellites.
According to the New Orleans publication NOLA, the satellites will specifically be used for Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite. The aim is to send the satellites into space in 2025, which arm Globalstar in further catering to the service as Apple introduces more iPhone models equipped with the feature.
The report also shares that Apple has been helping Globalstar in the project, with the former loaning the latter $252 million it used to purchase the $327 million satellites from Canadian company Macdonald, Dettwiler and Associates Corp. back in February 2022.
Apple’s emergency satellite connectivity for iPhone 14 models running iOS 16.1 or later was confirmed in September last year. During the announcement of the feature, Apple promised that it would be free of charge for two years for those getting or activating an iPhone 14. With this, as the iPhone 14 lineup approaches its first anniversary and the feature expected to be introduced in the iPhone 15 and 16 series, the addition of new satellites dedicated to the service is somehow expected from Globalstar.
The feature requires iOS 16.1 or later, but the requirement depends on location. For US and Canada-based users, an iOS 16.1 or later is needed. Meanwhile, iOS 16.2 or later is required in France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK, while iOS 16.4 or later is needed in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Portugal. Unfortunately, for iPhones purchased in mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macao, the feature is not available.
Certain conditions have to be met when using the feature in the said locations. For instance, Apple notes that it won’t work in places above 62° latitude, such as northern parts of Canada and Alaska. Also, in order to work completely, a specific individual or group of people should already have access to your location (via the Find My app) before you step outside the cellular or Wi-Fi coverage. Once your device is functioning through this option, the location can be updated via satellite every 15 minutes.
For more details on how to use the Emergency SOS via satellite feature, click here.