November 10, 2022
Satellite emergency SOS on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro series, enabled by Apple’s $450 million investment in US infrastructure
Satellite network and ground stations power the new service, which will be launched later this month
A $450 million investment from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund is providing the critical infrastructure supporting satellite emergency SOS for iPhone 14 models. Available later this month for customers in the US and Canada, the new service allows iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models to connect directly to a satellite, enabling messages with emergency services outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage. coverage are allowed.
Much of the funding goes to Globalstar, a global satellite service headquartered in Covington, Louisiana, with offices throughout the United States. Apple’s investment offers key improvements to Globalstar’s satellite network and ground stations, ensuring iPhone 14 users can connect to emergency services off-grid. At Globalstar, more than 300 employees support the new service.
“Satellite emergency SOS is a perfect example of how American ingenuity and technology can save lives,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “We’re proud that this service is made possible by leading US companies and that our users can explore off-grid areas knowing they’re still within reach of emergency services should the need arise.”
Emergency SOS via satellite is just one of the groundbreaking security features offered by the iPhone 14 range. Crash Detection can now detect a serious car accident and automatically dial 911 if a user is unconscious or unable to reach their iPhone.
Apple’s emergency satellite SOS is provided in partnership with Globalstar and utilizes spectrum in the L and S bands designated by the ITU radio regulations specifically for mobile satellite services. When an iPhone user makes an SOS via satellite, the message is received by one of Globalstar’s 24 satellites in low-Earth orbit traveling at approximately 16,000 miles per hour. The satellite then broadcasts the message to user-defined ground stations located at key points around the world.
Once received by a ground station, the message is relayed to emergency services, which can dispatch assistance, or to a relay center staffed by Apple-trained emergency response specialists if the nearest emergency services location cannot receive text messages.
“The launch of Emergency SOS via satellite directly to iPhone is a generational advance in satellite communications, and we are proud that Globalstar’s satellite and spectrum assets will play a pivotal role in saving lives,” said Jay Monroe, Executive Chairman by Globalstar. “With Apple’s infrastructure investments, we have expanded our teams in California and elsewhere to build, expand and upgrade our ground stations, and we look forward to the next chapter in Globalstar’s life-saving technology.”
The ground stations use new high-performance antennas designed and manufactured specifically for Apple by Cobham Satcom in Concord, California. Cobham employees design and manufacture the high power antennas that will receive the signals broadcast by the satellite constellation. In addition to communicating with emergency services via SMS, iPhone users can launch their “Find My” app and share their location via satellite when there is no cellular and Wi-Fi connection, providing a sense of security outside of the typical communications network.
To increase reliability and coverage, these new antennas have been installed at all of Globalstar’s ground stations worldwide, including new ground stations in Nevada and Hawaii, as well as existing facilities in Texas, Alaska, Florida and Puerto Rico. Multiple antennas at each ground station communicate with the satellites and relay information provided by the user so they can get the help they need.
To connect iPhone to the satellite network, users communicate through the mobile satellite service spectrum that Globalstar has operated in the US for 20 years. With improved ground stations and an updated satellite constellation soon, Apple and Globalstar will ensure spectrum continues to enable emergency services.
In addition to groundbreaking security features, the iPhone 14 range offers advanced camera systems, all-day battery life, and industry-leading durability features. Customers looking to upgrade to the iPhone 14 line can save up to $1,000 when they activate their device with select US carriers, either online at apple.com or at an Apple Retail Store.
In 2021, Apple announced an acceleration of its U.S. investments, planning to add more than $430 billion in new contributions over five years.
Apple Media Helpline