Lebanon, N.H. – September 26, 2022 – The new iPhone 14 will let you send emergency messages via satellite when you're outside of cell phone service or coverage areas but it does not replace your satellite messaging and tracking device, at least not right away.
“There are several limitations – like reach, tracking and messaging – that everyone should be aware of before swapping their current satellite communications device for the latest smartphone from Apple,” said Harding Bush, a former Navy SEAL and manager of security operations for Global Rescue, the leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services.
Limited Satellite Network: The Apple iPhone SOS feature will not work worldwide. The iPhone SOS feature uses the GlobalStar constellation of satellites reaching more than 120 countries – but not worldwide. Most satellite messaging and tracking devices use the Iridium constellation of satellites, a global network of low earth orbiting satellites providing access to voice and data services anywhere on Earth, making it easier for the user to connect with the satellite.
No Tracking: Satellite messaging devices usually have a tracking feature, where the user can send a message to specific recipients, and the recipient can follow the movement and location of the sender with a map graphic including the location, geographic coordinates, direction of travel, and the traveling speed of the sender. “The iPhone SOS feature lacks this capability. Backcountry enthusiasts should not replace their satellite messaging devices. A satellite messaging device allows you to send SMS messages and e-mails to anyone - not just the local municipal 911 emergency response service,” said Bush, who is an expert in high-risk travel, crisis preparedness and operational planning.
Limited Reach: Apple’s emergency SOS service will be available to users in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, but it will not be available at launch in Guam or American Samoa. “Foreign travelers will be able to use the Emergency SOS service when visiting the US and Canada, unless they bought their iPhone 14 in China, Hong Kong or Macao,” according to Apple.
The Apple iPhone 14 has a limited satellite connectivity feature so you can contact 9-1-1 services outside of cell phone service areas. This can be a lifesaving feature under specific circumstances. But it is not a replacement for your InReach, Zoleo, Bivy, Spot, or other satellite messaging and tracking devices,” Bush said.
Having both cellular and satellite connectivity on a single device is a huge technological breakthrough. Users will be safer as they will always be able to contact emergency services. “As the satellite functionality of smartphones expands, there could be a time when they eclipse the capabilities and features of satellite messaging and tracking devices and satellite phones. But until then, devices with satellite messaging and tracking capabilities should be the standard communication device for those who venture beyond the range of cell phone connectivity,” Bush said.
About Global Rescue
Global Rescue is the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services to enterprises, governments and individuals. Founded in 2004, Global Rescue has exclusive relationships with the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Division of Special Operations and Elite Medical Group. Global Rescue provides best-in-class services that identify, monitor and respond to client medical and security crises. Global Rescue has provided medical and security support to its clients, including Fortune 500 companies, governments and academic institutions, during every globally significant crisis of the last two decades. For more information, visit www.globalrescue.com.