Just a few months after Apple added a Backcountry SOS feature, it may have already saved the life of a man stuck in the Alaskan wilderness.
With a minimum price of $800, the iPhone 14 is not cheap. But the cost may seem small if it saves your life.
This is obviously the case for a man who found himself stuck in the northwest wilderness of Alaska on December 1st. news publication from Alaska’s Department of Public Safety.
The snowmobiler had no phone service, but “activated an Apple Emergency SOS via satellite on his iPhone,” the release said.
Using the GPS coordinates sent from the phone, a volunteer team of Search and rescue workers found the stranded man quickly. They transported him to the nearby town of Kotzebue, where state troopers said he had no injuries.
As of this writing, Alaska’s Department of Public Safety has not released details about what caused the man to become stranded.
As the Instagram post below illustrates, it’s not the first time an iPhone has saved a life this year.
Other SOS calls from iPhones
Even without off-grid SOS, the iPhone offers easy to activate emergency calls for users who have telephone service.
In April, Tim Blakey, 41, Credited to Apple with saving his life after he fell in a 15-foot crevass in the Alps. He used his iPhone, which was almost out of battery but still had service, and pressed the power button five times to send an SOS.
“Last thanks to Apple, their five-click side button for emergency services – especially great when your screen is constantly tapped, and to the service provider for giving me 3G connection and 3% battery 5m under the ice,” Blakey wrote on Instagram wrote. “The alternative to this has me at night to say the least.”
Even an American woman claims that the same feature helped her escape attempted to attack in 2019.
iPhone 14’s SOS: How it works
Although Apple’s latest phone in September, the emergency SOS function was only available in North America in November.
As GearJunkie wrote in a review last month, the SOS service allows the company’s latest smartphones to send short messages where cell phone coverage is unavailable. By harnessing the power of satellites, “this could make these devices an essential tool for use in the backcountry and disaster zones,” we wrote.
This is exactly what the leaders of Apple intended with the feature.
“Our users can explore off-the-grid areas and know they’re still within reach of emergency services if they’re in need,” Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said in November news publication.
Currently, Apple’s off-grid SOS service only works in North America. But the company has plans to expand the satellite service to the UK, France, Germany and Ireland.