iPhone 14 Emergency SOS just saved a man's life — here's how

Share location via satellite iPhone 14
(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 14's Emergency SOS via satellite has just proved itself invaluable in a real-life rescue situation reported by the Alaska Department of Public Safety (opens in new tab).

Per the official dispatch, a man who became stranded on a snow machine between Noorvik and Kotzebue in the early morning of December 1. And he was unable to call for help the traditional way as he was in an area where there was no cellular coverage. 

But Apple's latest safety feature came to the rescue. The trapped man was able to make a call for help using the iPhone 14's Emergency SOS feature by connecting to a satellite rather than a cell tower. The call then got through to the Apple Emergency Response Center, which worked with local search and rescue teams and the Northwest Arctic Borough Search and Rescue Coordinator to send out four volunteer searchers. 

What could have ended in tragedy, turned out to be a positive example of the power of technology to save lives, as volunteer searchers found the man and transported him to Kotzebue; no injuries were reported either. 

Apple recently enabled Emergency SOS via satellite in the U.S. and Canada, and in our demo of the feature, it seemed easy and effective to use, with a simple menu and messaging system to help connect you to the emergency services you need. However, the feature's yet to be enabled elsewhere, so it'll be a while before stories like these start to appear from other countries.

It's also worth noting that Apple's only promised that Emergency SOS via satellite will be free for iPhone 14 users for the next two years. After that, it's unclear how Apple will charge users to keep the feature, and if future iPhones will also come with two free years of coverage for users.

Safety played a big part in the iPhone 14's launch promotions. As well as Emergency SOS, the new iPhones come with Crash Detection that will set a countdown to automatically contact emergency services if it believes you've just been in a collision.

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro come with other upgrades too. Both Pro and non-Pro models come with Photonic Engine photography enhancements, battery life improvements, and larger 6.7-inch models in the form of the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Take a look at our iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro face-off to learn more about these, including Pro-exclusive upgrades like the 48MP camera and Dynamic Island notch.

Richard Priday
Senior Writer

Richard is a Tom's Guide senior writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.