Good news, iPhone users. A year after introducing the feature to its walled garden, Apple has extended free access to Emergency SOS via satellite to the iPhone 14/14 Pro for another year. As previously expected, you get three years of Emergency SOS via satellite services instead of two.
The extension seems squarely for iPhone 14 users, perhaps to get them on the same support timeline as those buying the iPhone 15/15 Pro this holiday season. iPhone 15 users also get two years of satellite emergency services bundled in with the cost of their devices, which means they’ll have to pay when the deal expires for the iPhone 14.
Apple might also give more lead time to figure out what else to bundle with the service. The company added Roadside Assistance via satellite in the U.S. through AAA when it announced the iPhone 15. Another related feature includes the Find My app, which lets you send a location ping to friends when you’re out of cellular service so they know you’re okay.
Of course, Apple users will have to start paying for the service at some point in their iPhone’s life. Apple hasn’t disclosed how much, though there are rumors that it would be just a usage fee for an additional $5/month or part of an Apple One subscription. Competing services like Garmin’s InReach, which Android would have used if it stuck with the program, cost about $15/month for consistent service.
When it launched last year, Emergency SOS via satellite was focused on providing satellite access in situations without cell service or wifi. Headlines were made about the people this service helped save, lending credence to the idea that having access to this kind of connectivity is essential.
Personal safety features have become a significant selling point of smartphones. The idea is that if it’s a computer in your pocket, it should save your life, too. Although Android is trailing on satellite offerings, Samsung and Google’s handsets offer car crash detection like the iPhone. Both platforms also provide Medical ID, essentially the digital version of the metal bracelet with your information stamped on it.