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.
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.