This Critical 911 Feature in iOS 12 Could Save Your Life

Yolanda Curtis
June 18, 2018

Credit: AppleThe tech giant will launch a new emergency response feature in its new iOS 12 software later this year, Apple revealed in a statement on Monday (June 18). Next Generation 911 technology from partner firm RapidSOS will be integrated in iOS 12, however, to make emergency location sharing faster and more precise. Since 2015, iPhones have been able to pinpoint their users' locations relatively accurately, using a combination of Global Positioning System and nearby wifi networks, a technology the company calls HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location).

Emergency responders are sometimes dispatched a mile or more away from a caller's location.

While iOS 11.3 added support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML), an automatic location-sharing feature used by some European emergency services, iOS 12 will include support for a similar US emergency service called RapidSOS, Apple announced today. The company expects this to increase to a majority of centers by the end of the year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal", said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO.

It states that carriers must "locate callers to within 50 meters at least 80 percent of the time by 2021". RapidSOS will automatically pass along iPhone location data using an industry-standard protocol that integrates with many 911 centers' existing software.

'When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance'.

A new patent application describes using Apple Watch sensors to detect emergencies and summon help when the wearer can not do so.

Apple's upcoming 911 feature relies on technology from RapidSOS, a NY startup.

Apple's iOS 11 includes a great SOS feature for when you feel unsafe in an emergency, but you may want to disable the feature on your iPhone or Apple Watch to avoid accidentally calling 911. Responders can start a location-accurate dispatching process more quickly, coming to the aid of children who don't know their current address, confused accident victims, and suicidal individuals.

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