iOS 11.3 Will Support Life-Saving Feature That Sends an iPhone's Precise Location to Responders in Emergencies

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Apple today previewed what to expect in iOS 11.3, including new Animoji, health records, ARKit improvements, the ability to turn off Apple's power management feature on iPhone 6 and newer, and much more.

emergency iphone
At the very bottom of its press release, Apple also briefly mentioned a potentially life saving feature coming in iOS 11.3: support for Advanced Mobile Location [PDF] in countries where it is supported.

Additional iOS 11.3 Features: Support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) to automatically send a user's current location when making a call to emergency services in countries where AML is supported.

Advanced Mobile Location will recognize when an emergency call is made and, if not already activated, activate an iPhone's GPS or Wi-Fi to collect the caller's precise location information. The device then sends an automatic SMS to the emergency services with the caller's location, before turning the GPS off again.


Advanced Mobile Location is allegedly up to 4,000 times more accurate than current emergency systems, which rely on cell tower location with a radius of up to several miles, or assisted GPS, which can fail indoors.

Advanced Mobile Location must be supported by carriers. EENA, short for the European Emergency Number Association, said the service is fully operational in several European countries, including the United Kingdom, Estonia, Lithuania, Austria, and Iceland, as well as New Zealand, on all mobile networks.

EENA said AML has saved many lives by more accurately pinpointing a person's position. Accordingly, several minutes of time can be saved, according to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute:

Ambulance Service measurements show that, on average, 30 seconds per call can be saved if a precise location is automatically provided, and several minutes can be saved where callers are unable to verbally describe their location due to stress, injury, language or simple unfamiliarity with an area.

A few years ago, Google implemented a similar AML-based solution called Emergency Location Service into Google Play services that automatically works on Android devices running its Gingerbread operating system or newer.

EENA called on Apple to support Advanced Mobile Location last August, and starting with iOS 11.3 this spring, its wish will be fulfilled.

Top Rated Comments

oneMadRssn Avatar
39 months ago
This is a good feature. Though the existing one is already pretty good.

Wife and I were skiing one time at a ski area we had never been to and were not familiar with, super icy day, terrible conditions. We happen upon this guy in the ditch on an empty trail, nobody else around. He looks unconscious and is bleeding from his thigh. Looked like he fell on the ice, lost his skis, slid towards a tree, and a low tree branch poked a hole in his leg.

We had no idea who to call*, so I sent my wife down to tell ski patrol while I stayed with the guy and called 911, and the operator asked if I knew what trail I was on so she could radio the ski area, but I didn't. So the 911 dispatcher CB radioed the local fire department, who then connected to the CB radio or channel of the ski area. I could hear all these conversations going on over the phone, as the 911 operator read off to the fire department and ski area my GPS coordinates that she obtained through my phone, and the ski area guy was able to pinpoint it to the trail I was on. I was pretty amazed.

Ski patrol arrived pretty soon after that. Turns out my wife didn't run into a ski patroller until she got all the way down, which took a while due to the ice, so calling actually was the faster way to get help. I don't know exactly how it turned out for the guy, but I know he lived.

* Later, when the adrenaline wore off, I saw that the back of my lift ticket had the ski area's ski patrol phone number. If this ever happens again, I'll check my ski ticket for a phone number before calling 911.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TonyC28 Avatar
39 months ago

Nice feature. Will there be a way to turn it off though?

Just curious, why would you want to turn it off?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oneMadRssn Avatar
39 months ago

You came upon a bleeding unconscious man and you weren't sure you should call 911? And next time you plan NOT to call 911? What do you think 911 is for?

While on a remote ski area, yes. Having gone through the experience, I know personally that calling the ski patrol directly would have saved about 2-3 minutes. Like I said, I called 911, who then spoke to the fire department, who then relayed everything to the ski patrol. It was an unnecessary game of telephone that delayed getting help a bit. I learned there is a good reason they print the ski patrol number on the lift tickets now - if you have cell service, it is by far the quickest way to get help.

911 is good when the emergency is on a public road, or in a house or business with an actual address. When on a mountain, very far from any kind of road or address, 911 isn't that helpful. They did a great job connecting to the people that actually would be helpful, but I now know I could have short-circuited the whole thing and connected with those people directly anyway.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zahuh Avatar
39 months ago
Thank you Apple!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NightFox Avatar
39 months ago
I do a lot of cycling round country lanes and I've often thought how if I was involved in, or came across an accident, I would struggle to give my location to the emergency services with any accuracy, so this is a welcome service. Also, theses days with so many people using GPS for road journeys, I think people are less aware of where they actually are so this should be useful here too.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
39 months ago

4,000 times more accurate than current emergency systems

Holy crap.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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