Emergency SOS for iPhone 14: Apple Gives Users 2 Years Free

Apple's emergency satellite service comes at no extra cost for the next two years, but what happens after that?

Peter Butler Writer
Peter is a writer and editor for the CNET How-To team. He has been covering technology, software, finance, sports and video games since working for @Home Network and Excite in the 1990s. Peter managed reviews and listings for Download.com during the 2000s, and is passionate about software and no-nonsense advice for creators, consumers and investors.
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Peter Butler
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A screenshot from the Apple Far Out event shows the Emergency SOS service launching in November

Apple plans to launch the Emergency SOS service for iPhone 14 in November.

Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Lord/CNET

The iPhone 14 is getting a new safety feature. At Apple's "Far Out" event, the company announced the new iPhone will let you send emergency messages via satellite when you're outside of cell phone service or don't have reception.

Apple has tweaked the iPhone 14 antennas to be able to connect to satellites, using a system that shows you where to point your phone toward the sky. The company also developed a text compression algorithm to reduce the size of messages so they will work with satellites' limited bandwidth.

The Emergency SOS service may eventually become a paid add-on for iPhone users, but iPhone 14 owners will receive two free years to start. Learn everything we know about the free Emergency SOS service plan.

When will the new iPhone 14 be available?

Apple will start taking preorders for the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max on Friday, Sept. 9. The new phones will become available on Friday, Sept. 16

When and where will the Emergency SOS feature work?

Apple plans to launch the Emergency SOS service for all iPhone 14 models in November 2022. It will be available to iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max users in the US and Canada.

Emergency SOS service for iPhone 14 will be available in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, but it will not be available at launch in Guam or American Samoa. Foreign travelers will be able to use the Emergency SOS service when visiting the US and Canada, unless they bought their iPhone 14 in China, Hong Kong or Macao.

Satellite direction in Emergency SOS feature on iPhone 14

Emergency SOS will help point your iPhone 14 in the direction of communication satellites.

Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Lord/CNET

Who will get the two free years of Emergency SOS service?

Apple hasn't released all of the details of its Emergency SOS plan, but it appears that anyone who purchases an iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max will receive the two free years of service. It's not clear yet how long the offer of two free years of service will last, but Apple's press releases indicate that, at least for now, all iPhone 14 owners will get two free years of Emergency SOS services after the purchase of their iPhones.

How much will Emergency SOS cost after those first two free years?

The full details of the Emergency SOS service are still coalescing. Apple has not yet announced a standard price for its iPhone 14 emergency service. Since the iPhone 14 is brand new, Apple has a couple of years to decide on whether the Emergency SOS will be a premium add-on to iOS and, if so, how much it will cost.

In his analysis of Apple's Wednesday announcements, longtime Apple reporter Dan Moren speculates that postponing the cost decision for two years "might allow Apple time to see how many people actually use it, and what pricing might then have to look like, or it may extend the date after that, thinking it's a bad look to provide a handy emergency feature that might become unusable without a fee."

We'll keep this story updated as more information emerges about the Emergency SOS service.