Apple has Qualcomm to thank for the iPhone 14's satellite features

Apple iPhone satellite locator
Apple iPhone satellite locator (Image credit: Apple)

It looks like Apple has Qualcomm to thank for its new Emergency SOS by Satellite feature in the iPhone 14 lineup. Well, at least partially.

As reported by Reuters, Apple's new satellite features are powered by a Qualcomm processor built to communicate with satellites. iFixit uncovered a Qualcomm X65 modem in its teardown of the new iPhone 14. The chip, according to the report, is capable of communicating with satellites in addition to the usual cellular networks.

iFixit, a San Luis Obispo, California-based firm that disassembles iPhones and other consumer electronics to assess how easily they can be repaired, took apart an iPhone 14 Pro Max model on Friday, revealing a Qualcomm X65 modem chip. The Qualcomm chip provides 5G connectivity for cellular networks but is also capable of using what is called band n53, the frequency band used by satellites from Globalstar.

Apple technology is powering things too

iPhone 14 emergency SOS via satellite

iPhone 14 emergency SOS via satellite (Image credit: Apple)

While you might be quick to give all of the credit to Qualcomm, Apple also released a statement saying that its own proprietary technology is to be credited for the emergency feature as well. The company says that "custom radio frequency components," in addition to Qualcomm's modem, power the Emergency SOS via satellite feature:

“iPhone 14 includes custom radio frequency components, and new software designed entirely by Apple, that together enable Emergency SOS via satellite on new iPhone 14 models."

Both the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro support Satellite SOS via satellite, Apple's new feature that allows your iPhone to communicate with satellites in an emergency situation where you find yourself somewhere without a cellular signal.

The feature will launch for the iPhone 14 lineup in the United States and Canada in November. It is currently unknown when the feature will roll out to other countries, but there are rumors the company could expand coverage to more countries by the end of this year.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.