Here's how just an iPhone (and a helicopter) can rescue you from a mountaintop

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

Apple today made Emergency SOS via Satellite available to everyone with an iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro in the United States and Canada — and a new ad shows how that could save your life.

The ad, called The Rescue, shows someone with a hurt leg at the top of a mountain. Their climbing partner then uses an iPhone and Emergency SOS via Satellite to get help when cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity isn't available.

Oh, and there's a helicopter and some excellent camera work.

"Emergency SOS via satellite allows you to text emergency services via satellite when cell service or Wi-Fi is unavailable.," Apple says.

Apple has confirmed that the lifesaving feature is also coming to more countries next month, with France, Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom all coming online.

As for cost, we know that Emergency SOS via Satellite will be free for the first two years, but there is no confirmation on how much Apple will charge after that point. However, we can be sure that Apple will make it available as part of Apple One once it starts charging.

Emergency SOS via Satellite connects an iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro directly to a satellite overhead, sending a small amount of data to ensure transmission times are as short as possible. That data includes the person's location and the answers to some questions that will help dispatchers make better decisions based on the situation.

However, Emergency SOS via Satellite will require a clear line of sight to the sky to work, while iOS will guide users to point their iPhones in the specific direction of a passing satellite.

While a feature that many will hope they never have to use, Emergency SOS via Satellite could wind up being the best iPhone feature of all — mainly if it saves your life.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.