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Apple details how it created the iPhone 14's Emergency SOS via satellite system

The company spent hundreds of millions to bring the feature to life.

Published onNovember 11, 2022

Apple Emergency SOS via satellite field
  • Apple has spent $450 million to set up the infrastructure behind the iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS via satellite system.
  • The company has detailed how the system works behind the scenes when an iPhone 14 user makes an Emergency SOS request.

Apple’s iPhone 14 series is equipped with a new Emergency SOS via satellite system. The feature will go live in the US and Canada later this month, and the company has revealed just how much it spent on it, as well as the nitty-gritty of how it functions.

The entire Emergency SOS project cost Apple a whopping $450 million. Most of that investment went towards creating infrastructure for the feature in partnership with satellite provider Globalstar.

The Cupertino company financed critical enhancements to Globalstar’s satellite network and ground stations. As a result, more than 300 Globalstar employees will support the new Emergency SOS service on the iPhone 14.

End-to-end working of Apple’s Emergency SOS via Satellite

Apple further explained that Emergency SOS via satellite utilizes a specially designated spectrum for mobile satellite services.

When an iPhone user makes an Emergency SOS request, the message is received by one of Globalstar’s 24 satellites in low-earth orbit traveling at speeds of approximately 25,749 km/h. The satellite then sends the message down to custom ground stations (see image above) located at critical points worldwide.

The ground stations use new high-power antennas designed and manufactured specifically for Apple by Cobham Satcom in Concord, California. There are multiple antennas at each ground station that talk to the satellites.

Once the ground station receives the message, it is routed either to emergency services or a relay center with Apple-trained emergency specialists.

So there you have it — an end-to-end picture of how the iPhone 14 series’ Emergency SOS system works. Do you think it’s a feature that’s worth switching to the latest iPhones? Drop us a line in the comments section below.

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