iPhone users in the UK can contact 999 without a mobile signal

iPhone emergency calls - Credit Hadrian / Shutterstock.com

Apple is providing iPhone users in the UK with a new satellite driven SOS system that allows users to call 999 even when there is no mobile signal.

The new system went live on Tuesday, December 14 according to a report by the Telegraph. The system is, however, not available to all iPhone users only those with the latest models.

Using the latest technology the phone is able to connect to a passing satellite and relay a distress beacon advising the emergency services of their plight. The technology works even if the phone is not connected to a Wi-Fi system or data network.

The iPhone sends a text message to the safety team at Apple who will then via text, confirm the issue as well as collecting other necessary data like location. That is then passed on to the emergency services.

Using services from GlobalStar the iPhone is able to send and receive tiny packets of data in the form of specially coded texts. These use three times less data than normal SMS messages.

Anyone wanting to try the service can click the “Try demo option” which can be found in the settings section.

Black spots are notorious in the UK with providers only required to cover 95 per cent of the population and not the length and breadth of the country.

T-Mobile is looking to offer a similar system after it did a deal with Elon Musk’s Starlink this summer.

John Anthony, the British Association of Public Safety Communications Officials’ President, said: “Being able to use a satellite connection to contact 999 or 112 if there is no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is a breakthrough that Apple has brought to the general public with iPhone 14.

“Ultimately, this will help save lives.”

Many people are left stranded in the UK without mobile signal, but this latest move which allows iPhone users in the UK to contact 999 is a game changer.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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