Apple’s emergency satellite service is coming to 6 more countries — here’s how to use it


If something goes wrong on your summer vacation to Europe, getting help will soon be just a tap away on Apple’s latest devices.

The tech giant is rolling out its safety-focused Emergency SOS via satellite feature to six additional countries later this month, bringing this potentially life-saving technology to more adventurers who find themselves off the grid.

By the end of March, Apple will expand the service to Austria, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal, joining the existing six markets listed below:

  • Canada.
  • France.
  • Germany.
  • Ireland.
  • United Kingdom.
  • United States.

Emergency SOS via satellite requires any iPhone 14 model, including the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, that’s running iOS 16.1 or later.

Related: Why the new iPhone 14 Pro is a game changer for travelers

The service works regardless of where you purchased your device, even if satellite connectivity hasn’t (yet) launched in your home country. The only exceptions are iPhones purchased in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Unfortunately, older Apple smartphones won’t be able to communicate with satellites. The required communications hardware was only added to the iPhone 14 lineup that launched last year.

While I’ll run through a step-by-step guide to using the feature below, there are two very important use cases that could come in handy to many travelers.


Getting help when you don’t have cellular or Wi-Fi connection

Traditionally, if you didn’t have access to a cellphone signal or a Wi-Fi network, your smartphone would be completely disconnected from people back home.

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But, with the addition of satellite connectivity, all you need is a clear view of the sky and some patience to get in touch with help. (Establishing a strong satellite connection can sometimes take a few minutes.)

Whether you’re camping somewhere remote, driving through backcountry roads or hiking in a national park, your iPhone 14 will be able to communicate with first responders using satellites in the case of an emergency.


Upload your location when you are off the grid

Even if you don’t need emergency help, Apple’s new satellite service can help reassure loved ones back home that everything is OK.

While you can’t make calls or send text messages using Apple’s new satellite connectivity, you can upload your current location to the Find My app when you’re off the grid. This feature should be especially useful for those exploring remote locations or those trekking outdoors who want to provide location updates to friends and family members.

To help power the new feature, Apple is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Globalstar, a multinational satellite service based in Covington, Louisiana. When you activate the feature, you’ll connect to one of the company’s 24 satellites in low-Earth orbit that are traveling at speeds of approximately 16,000 mph.

The service is free for two years starting at the time of activation of any new iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Note that your two-year timer won’t begin until the service goes live in your home country, even if you use the feature while traveling abroad to a country that is already activated.

Apple hasn’t yet announced how much the feature will cost after the two-year mark.

Related: Which is the best credit card for Apple purchases?

How to use Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite

One of the best ways to prepare for an emergency is to run through the steps of what you’d do in case disaster strikes.

To do that, Apple built a demo of the new satellite connectivity feature directly into the settings app. Just scroll down to the Emergency SOS settings and click on “Try Demo” at the bottom to practice using the feature.


This is also where you can select your emergency contacts who’ll get notified if you do end up using this feature in a real emergency.

If something happens when you’re off the grid, try dialing the emergency services phone number in the country in which you’re traveling. (That’s 911 in the U.S. and Canada, 112 in France and Germany, and 999 or 112 in Ireland and the U.K.)

If you don’t have enough service to make the call, a button on the bottom right of the screen will appear to start a conversation with emergency service via text.

You’ll then be prompted to report an emergency and complete a short questionnaire that’ll be sent to first responders.


You’ll also be asked if you’d like to notify your emergency contacts. Critical health information, including your medical ID, your location (including elevation) and your remaining iPhone battery life will be shared once your message is sent.

Your iPhone will guide you to connect to a satellite, which might require turning left or right or moving away from thick foliage if that’s at all possible. Note that satellite service may not work if you’re located above 62 degrees latitude, which includes northern parts of Canada and Alaska.


Once connected, you may receive additional follow-up messages from first responders, depending on your situation.

Related: 11 travel must-haves with Apple’s new iPhone 14, AirPods Pro, Series 8 Watch

If you aren’t experiencing an emergency but are instead trying to update your friends and family with your location, you can open the Find My app and click the “Me” button at the bottom right of the screen.


Tap “Send my Location” under the satellite banner, then follow the on-screen instructions.

When connecting via satellite, you can only update your location once every 15 minutes. Note that you won’t be able to see your friend’s location unless you’re connected to a cellular or Wi-Fi network.

For more information and details on using the service, read Apple’s detailed step-by-step guide to Emergency SOS via satellite.

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