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Old 09-08-2022, 04:53 AM   #1
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Satellite emergency SOS feature for iPhone 14

This comes up from time to time here, especially for people who go off grid. Looks like Apple has built in satellite SOS right into it's latest phone. Service is free for 2 years. The phones aren't cheap, but it'll save you from having to go find a separate device if and when you need it. If someone is looking for you, they can see you using the built in Find My app.



https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/07/tech/...scn/index.html
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Old 09-08-2022, 08:47 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dizcom View Post
This comes up from time to time here, especially for people who go off grid. Looks like Apple has built in satellite SOS right into it's latest phone. Service is free for 2 years. The phones aren't cheap, but it'll save you from having to go find a separate device if and when you need it. If someone is looking for you, they can see you using the built in Find My app.



https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/07/tech/...scn/index.html
Just read the article. Sounds like a game changer. Looks like T-Mobile is working on something similar.

Wondering how this system will compare with the Garmin InReach devices, Devices I am actively researching in preparation for a long trip this winter. The InReach units are between $400 and $450, with monthly service starting at $15/month, able to cancel at anytime. At $799, the Apple 14 sounds competitive, since you’re getting all the features of a phone in addition to the satellite capabilities.

InReach has 24/7 professional monitoring, hopefully well trained to send emergency services if needed. The units also have an SOS button if unable to compose a text message.

Wondering how those features compare to what Apple is offering. Definitely something to keep an eye on, especially for those who enjoy out of the way locations.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-08-2022, 12:31 PM   #3
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For a planned off grid backpacking trips, I will still use my Garmin InReach. When driving the truck sometimes away from cellular coverage the sat feature would be a good option in an emergency.

Every few years somebody tries to follow google maps through rural Nevada on a road not maintained for winter travel. This last winter a couple was stuck for several days. The women survived, the man did not.

A lot of people buy new iPhones. A lot of people do dumb stuff and are not prepared. I hope this sat SOS solution helps out some people when they get in trouble off the grid.

People shouldn't take higher risks just because they think they reach emergency services off the grid. It is still better to plan and avoid the trouble by mitigating the risks.

Another option popular with some backpackers in a personal locater beacon. The battery lasts 5 years and no service plan is required. The device needs to be registered and some people buy search and rescue insurance. Press the button if someone life depends on rescue. A full search and rescue effort would be deployed without any knowledge of the specific problem.

The biggest advantage of Sat based emergency texting is the contracted agency can communicate to the person seeking assistance. The response can be proportional to the risk of life and the urgency of time. Sometimes the response is just advice because the situation wasn't really an emergency.
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Old 09-08-2022, 03:49 PM   #4
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Just read the article. Sounds like a game changer. Looks like T-Mobile is working on something similar.

Wondering how this system will compare with the Garmin InReach devices, Devices I am actively researching in preparation for a long trip this winter. The InReach units are between $400 and $450, with monthly service starting at $15/month, able to cancel at anytime. At $799, the Apple 14 sounds competitive, since you’re getting all the features of a phone in addition to the satellite capabilities.

InReach has 24/7 professional monitoring, hopefully well trained to send emergency services if needed. The units also have an SOS button if unable to compose a text message.

Wondering how those features compare to what Apple is offering.
Definitely something to keep an eye on, especially for those who enjoy out of the way locations.

Thanks for sharing.
I was wondering the same thing - if Apple has all the immediate resources available that Garmin In-Reach has. For now, since I own an In-Reach, it will continue to be my choice over a smartphone.
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Old 09-08-2022, 04:15 PM   #5
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The InReach and similar devices are probably a lot more rugged than a smartphone. Something to consider if you think you are more than just lost. Think about falling down a cliff or falling into a river or a car crash off road.
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Old 09-08-2022, 05:34 PM   #6
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My garmin can send text to friends and family via satellite. Iphone will not be able to do that as far as i know.

Id imagine the antenna on the garmin is more robust than whatever they are stuffing into the iphone. As evidenced by apple creating new ways of compressing the text messages.
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Old 09-11-2022, 09:02 AM   #7
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A cellphone will not be the equal of a dedicated device such as Inreach or SPOT for several reasons -- not as rugged, more finicky (the iPhone has to be held pointing at the satellite), lack of full two-way communication, etc. But... just like a camera or a gun, the 'best' one is the one that you have with you when you need it.

An outdoor adventurer would never depend on any cellphone for critical emergency communications, but for the average person having at least some way to summon assistance in an emergency when out of cellular range can make all the difference, and that's what the service is intended for, the once in a lifetime call for help that could save a life.

Personally I wouldn't head out on an outdoor trip out of cellular range without a dedicated two-way satellite communicator, but lacking that the cellphone option is infinitely better than nothing.
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Old 09-11-2022, 12:03 PM   #8
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Apple is using Globalstar for their satellite service: https://www.reuters.com/technology/a...es-2022-09-07/

The satellite message feature will be available through a software upgrade on iPhone 14 models, which include extra hardware to send the messages, in November.

I have a Garmin 66i with InReach that I activate on a month-to-month basis when needed. But yeah, it cost me almost what the new iPhone costs. With the Garmin they charge an annual $35 fee to keep your device provisioned so you can activate it when needed. Two years of free service from Apple is very nice.

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Old 09-11-2022, 12:13 PM   #9
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My iphone13 has the sos feature. Not sure if my version runs off the cell network or hits satellites. I am assuming it uses the cell network otherwise the new feature wouldn’t be front and center.
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Old 09-11-2022, 12:53 PM   #10
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I have a Garmin 66i with InReach that I activate on a month-to-month basis when needed. But yeah, it cost me almost what the new iPhone costs. With the Garmin they charge an annual $35 fee to keep your device provisioned so you can activate it when needed.
I don't like to try to predict an emergency so I just leave my unit activated all year. That's $12.95/month with no annual fee and it's well worth that to me to know I have 365/24/7 access, even if not needed (who wants to actually need an emergency device ) Plus I use it for the occasional text message when I am out of cellular range.

Also just as a note there are less expensive options for the hardware. SPOT units are less expensive, or if you prefer Inreach/Iridium you can use the Zoleo device which is only $199.
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Old 09-11-2022, 04:35 PM   #11
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The I-phone 14 drawback is, the user must have a clear sky available for this feature to work, at least that's what the TV ad says.
This means being lost in a forest or on a very cloudy day(like when Dish network fails) the service might not work as designed.
It is however much better than relying on cell -phone service.
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Old 09-11-2022, 09:49 PM   #12
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The I-phone 14 drawback is, the user must have a clear sky available for this feature to work, at least that's what the TV ad says.
This means being lost in a forest or on a very cloudy day(like when Dish network fails) the service might not work as designed.
It is however much better than relying on cell -phone service.
Does the Garmin InReach, or any of the other satellite devices, have the same limitations?
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Old 09-12-2022, 02:58 AM   #13
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Does the Garmin InReach, or any of the other satellite devices, have the same limitations?
All the satellite devices require a clear view of the sky, but performance among various units can differ when conditions are suboptimal. For example devices that support a dedicated satellite antenna will perform better than a cellphone trying to make do with a very compromised antenna that must fit inside and not increase the size of the phone. This might require precise positioning or aiming of a phone, while positioning of a dedicated device wouldn't be as critical.

So what this might amount to is a situation where some tree cover reduces the performance of a dedicated satellite device, where in the same circumstances a cellphone satellite device might not work at all. Or a dedicated device might be something that you can leave on a rock while it does its thing, while a phone device might require more attention.

All that said, again, performance issues aside the 'best' device is always the one that you have with you when you need it.
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Old 09-12-2022, 04:30 AM   #14
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Does the Garmin InReach, or any of the other satellite devices, have the same limitations?
I have used my Garmin InReach Mini extensively when backpacking on the Appalachian Trail and other adventures including calling in a medivac helicopter for a gravely ill man I ran across while canoeing the Green River in Utah. My InReach has always gotten a message in and out under sky shading forest although it has sometimes taken longer than usual (up to an hour) when the canopy is fairly thick.
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