APPLE has revealed certain iPhone users can keep using a life-saving feature for free for another year.
The tool has already rescued a number of people from life-threatening situations.
Emergency SOS via satellite was launched a year ago by Apple as a new way to communicate with emergency services when you have no signal or Wi-Fi available.
It comes up as an option whenever you call 999 or 911 and there's no signal.
If the call won't connect, you'll get an option to send an Emergency Text via Satellite.
You then tap Report Emergency, and then choose from several options to describe your emergency.
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It's a perk that was only meant to be available for free for two years.
However, Apple has announced that it will extend the free period for an extra 12 months.
The perk is available to anyone with an iPhone 14 or iPhone 15.
"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," said Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing.
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"We are so happy iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 users can take advantage of this groundbreaking service for two more years for free."
Apple's tips for connecting to a satellite
Here are Apple's official tips for using Emergency SOS via satellite.
- Be sure to hold your phone naturally in your hand – it's not necessary to raise your arm or hold your phone up in the air, but don't put it in a pocket or backpack.
- Go outside with a clear view of the sky and the horizon if possible.
- Trees with light foliage could slow down the connection, and dense foliage might block it too. Hills or mountains, canyons, and tall structures can also interfere.
- In case you need to turn left or right or move to avoid a blocked signal, your iPhone provides guidance—just follow the onscreen instructions.
- The satellite connection can be maintained even if your phone screen is locked.
Remember that you may need to slightly shift your iPhone during the process to keep it connected to the satellite.
That's because satellites are constantly moving as they orbit around Earth.
It can potentially take several minutes to send a message (although Apple created a text compression algorithm to shrink the size of its transmissions, speeding the process up).
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