Local news reports that three male students were canyoneering in “The Squeeze” in Emery County this past weekend when they got into difficulties. They were able to use an iPhone to summon help while lighting a fire to try and stay warm.
The trio was later rescued by helicopter; all three made a full recovery from their ordeal. And they were saved by one of the iPhone's newest features.
A satellite connection every 20 minutes
KUTV and AppleInsider report that the three BYU students had done their homework about the area they were visiting but still found themselves unable to get to safety under their own steam. It’s thought that the wet weather had changed the canyon’s layout, rendering that homework useless.
That wasn’t enough to stop the iPhone 14 coming in clutch, however: Emergency SOS via Satellite works by lining up with a low-orbit satellite to relay a short text message to emergency responders. That message includes location data, and the students say that they managed to get a connection roughly every 20 minutes.
“The canyon was about 500 feet deep of sheer, rock walls but about every 20 minutes a satellite would line up where we were in the canyon, and by holding the phone up we could get a signal where we could text 911 to Emery County -- and that definitely saved our butts,” described one of the students in an interview with KUTV.
The report says that the students first tried to make a phone call but were unable to. Emergency SOS via Satellite comes into its own when no cellular or Wi-Fi service is available, as appears to have been the case here.
You don’t need to buy Apple’s best iPhone to get this feature but you do need an iPhone 14 or newer. Apple is likely to announce the iPhone 15 in September and we can expect that device to offer the same capabilities — if not upgraded ones.
Master your iPhone in minutes
iMore offers spot-on advice and guidance from our team of experts, with decades of Apple device experience to lean on. Learn more with iMore!
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.