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The iPhone 14 series is getting satellite connectivity: What is it and how does it work?

One of the outstanding features of the new Apple iPhone 14 series is the ability to use satellite communication to help users send a message when they are in an emergency and cannot find any cellular reception. With the entire iPhone 14 lineup including Pro and Non-Pro models, this feature could be a lifesaver in unfortunate situations, especially if you’re into adventure. Here’s everything you need to know about it, including how it works and how users can get the most out of it.

How the feature works

When an iPhone 14 user calls or texts an emergency number and is unable to communicate due to insufficient cellular reception, the iPhone will try to connect you via a satellite connection. Satellite connectivity relies on line-of-sight communication with satellites hovering above the Earth’s surface, and although it’s a slower way to communicate, the technology is useful when you’re out of range of a traditional cell tower, which is what usually keeps our phones connected.

When the phone detects such mobile service, users will be presented with an “Emergency SMS via Satellite” option that they can use. When this feature launches, users will also see a new interface on the screen that will guide them to get the best satellite connection from their location.

Apple states on its website that “when you use a satellite connection, the experience is different than when you send or receive messages on a mobile phone. In ideal conditions with a direct view of the sky and horizon, it can take 15 seconds to send a message and over a minute to send under trees with light or medium foliage.”

“If you are under dense foliage or surrounded by other obstacles, you may not be able to connect to the satellite. The connection time can also be affected by your surroundings, the length of your message and the status and availability of the satellite network,” adds the brand.

What about privacy?

Apple claims that when emergency services are contacted via satellite, all messages are sent in encrypted form and are decrypted by Apple to be forwarded to the appropriate emergency services. However, the messages themselves may be “retained by the emergency services centers and transmission provider for the purpose of improving their services and in accordance with applicable laws.”

Who can use the feature?

Satellite connectivity is only available for iPhone 14 series models and will initially only come to users in the US and Canada with the iOS 16 update around November 2022. This feature will also be available in the US if you purchased an iPhone 14 series model outside of the US. However, iPhone 14 series purchased in mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau will not have this feature.

Apple also mentioned on its website that the feature may not work in regions with a latitude above 62 degrees, such as northern parts of Canada and Alaska.


I am Sanjit Gupta. I have completed my BMS then MMS both in marketing. I even did a diploma in computer software and Digital Marketing.

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