Apple Watch to Eventually Gain Satellite Connectivity Feature for SOS and Emergency Contacts

Apple plans to bring satellite connectivity to the Apple Watch in the future, which would allow for emergency texting and SOS response features directly on a wearer's wrist, Bloomberg reports.

apple watch emergency sos call feature
Before the iPhone 13 launch last fall, a flurry of reports had suggested the 2021 iPhone lineup would feature "LEO," or satellite connectivity. Satellite connectivity would enable the ‌iPhone‌ to send short messages to emergency contacts over satellite networks without going through a carrier.

The feature ultimately did not materialize in the ‌iPhone 13‌ lineup, but Bloomberg reports today that the feature could launch as early as this year with the iPhone 14. Following its launch on the ‌iPhone‌, Apple is planning to bring the technology over to the Apple Watch.

Apple's plan includes two parts to let users leverage satellite connectivity. The first, called "Emergency Message via Contacts," would let users send short text messages to emergency services and contacts over a satellite network when there is no available cellular signal. The new protocol would appear with gray bubbles inside of the Messages app.

The second component would let users report a crisis, such as a car, boat, or plane crash, to relevant authorities. Per a Bloomberg report from August of last year:

The second emergency feature is focused on letting users report a crisis. The phone will ask what kind of emergency is happening, such as whether it involves a car, boat, plane or fire.

The system is also able to take more specific information, such as a person falling overboard or a ship sinking. It will ask a user if search and rescue services are needed, if there is suspicious behavior or weapons involved, and if a person has suffered a traumatic injury.

As expected, Bloomberg cautions that the feature will be dependent on local regulation and availability, adding "they’re not designed to work in every country."

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

WWPD Avatar
18 weeks ago


Attachment Image
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mielie Avatar
18 weeks ago

This is total BS. This would require a large antenna, clear view of the sky, and enough power to make your fingers fall off.
Errrr you’ve heard of satellite phones haven’t you?

Maybe checkout Garmin InReach if you think this technology doesn’t exist in such small sizes….
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Danfango Avatar
18 weeks ago
I will buy this the day it comes out. I spend a lot of my time in places with no cellular networks.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
t0rqx Avatar
18 weeks ago

Okay correct me if I'm wrong

I know some luxury watches have this feature, but using this feature costs $$$.

I remember reading a story from 10+ years ago where a guy was lost in the ocean or a forest and he activated his SOS and it cost tens of thousands of dollars...?
Thats where the Apple Health+ subscription kicks in.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jimothyGator Avatar
18 weeks ago

Clear view of the sky yes, large antenna NO, power to make your finger fall off, also no, see Garmin device ('https://www.rei.com/product/140110/garmin-inreach-mini?sku=1401100001&store=56&cm_mmc=PLA_Google%7C21700000001700551_1401100001%7C92700057791438908%7CNB%7C71700000074091798&gclid=Cj0KCQjwxtSSBhDYARIsAEn0thQwrJZOyxRMLxyflg1_bkAFWq--QBmgLythJScp3oJVREwTLoyGp_waApj4EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds') (3.9x2x1 inch, weights in at 3.5oz), most of it is taken up by display, and probably the protective layers.

Iridium Constellation (been in operation since 1998) has been doing this for YEARS, their device are small when needed, people seems to forget that there ARE constellations (multiples of them) before Starlink, and all the other new comers.
I want this to be true, as a backpacker, but I doubt it. The Garmin inReach mini is considerably larger than the Apple Watch, and it includes a large* antenna.

* Relative to the hidden antennas of a modern phone and Apple Watch, though small compared to a CB radio antenna, for example.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xyz369 Avatar
18 weeks ago
Cool, this feature will actually be able to save a person somewhere in the mountains where there is no signal.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

iPhone in Space

Bloomberg: Apple Working on Emergency Satellite Features for iPhones, 2021 Launch Unlikely

Monday August 30, 2021 3:16 pm PDT by
Apple is working on satellite capabilities for the iPhone that will allow users to send texts in emergency situations, reports Bloomberg. The feature would also allow iPhone users to report crashes and other emergencies in areas where there is no cellular coverage. There are at least two emergency features that will rely on satellite networks, and while satellite technology has been in the...
emergency sos snowboarder

Snowboarder Trapped in Deep Crevasse Turns to iPhone to Save His Life

Wednesday April 6, 2022 2:25 am PDT by
The iPhone's Emergency SOS feature has saved a British snowboarder's life after he fell into a crevasse at 10,000 feet in the Swiss Alps, Australia's 7 News reports. 41-year-old personal trainer Tim Blakely was snowboarding alone at 10,000 feet in the Alps before falling over 13 feet into a hidden crevasse. Blakely landed on a fragile snow bridge that prevented him falling any further, but...
maxresdefault

Apple Watch's Life-Saving Potential Highlighted in Suspenseful '911' Ad

Saturday January 1, 2022 4:15 pm PST by
Apple today shared a new ad titled "911" that emphasizes the Apple Watch's life-saving potential during emergencies. The suspenseful ad revolves around three individuals named Amanda, Jason, and Jim who were each able to get help by dialing 911 using the Apple Watch, with the ad highlighting excerpts from their frantic phone calls with dispatchers. Amanda, for example, said that her car had...
report junk message ios 16

Apple's Junk Message Reporting Now Covers SMS for Select U.S Carriers in iOS 16

Wednesday June 22, 2022 11:25 am PDT by
With the second iOS 16 beta, Apple is expanding the built-in "Report Junk" feature in the Messages app to cover SMS/MMS messages, allowing spam messages to be reported to select carriers in the United States. If you long press on an SMS/MMS message in the Unknown Senders section of the Messages app in iOS 16, you can select the "Report Junk" option. Using this option lets you report a...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp Privacy Update Lets You Hide 'Last Seen' Status From Specific Contacts

Tuesday August 9, 2022 3:38 am PDT by
WhatsApp is rolling out two new privacy updates this month, including the ability to adjust the visibility of your "Last Seen" status on a contact-by-contact basis, and a way to silently leave group chats without all members of the group being notified when you do. As regular WhatsApp users will know, the "Last Seen" status of a contact sits atop the conversation thread, informing you when...
ios 16 battery indicator 2

Everything New in iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage in Status Bar, Find My Changes and More

Monday August 8, 2022 12:53 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of iOS 16 to developers for testing purposes, introducing some small but notable changes to the iOS operating system. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We've rounded up everything new in the fifth beta below. Battery Percentage in Status Bar The battery icon in the status bar now displays the exact battery percent, a feature that ...
ios 16 contacts merge duplicates

iOS 16 Lets You Easily Fix Duplicate Contacts

Tuesday June 7, 2022 10:42 am PDT by
If your Contacts app is riddled with duplicates that you haven't been able to fix, iOS 16 has a solution. The update includes a dedicated feature for merging duplicate contacts, solving problems with multiple contacts once and for all. In the iOS 16 Contacts app, if you have more than one contact card for the same person, the app will automatically detect the duplicate and let you know that ...
cook sept 2020 event

Gurman: Apple Preparing Pre-Recorded iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 Event

Sunday August 7, 2022 6:13 am PDT by
Apple has "started to record" its virtual September event, where it's expected to announce the upcoming iPhone 14 lineup, the Apple Watch Series 8, and a new "rugged" Apple Watch model, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman says the event, which is expected to take place in the early part of September, is already under production, implying...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Dummies 1 Feature

Everything Rumored for Apple's September Event: iPhone 14, Apple Watch Pro and More

Friday August 12, 2022 2:34 pm PDT by
There's just about a month to go until Apple holds its annual September event focusing on new iPhone and Apple Watch models. We thought we'd take a quick look at everything that's rumored for Apple's September event to give MacRumors readers a rundown on what to expect when the first fall event rolls around. iPhone 14 The iPhone 14 can probably be described more as an "iPhone 13S" because...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Predicted to Start With Increased 256GB Storage Alongside Rumored Price Increase

Wednesday August 10, 2022 11:14 am PDT by
Earlier today, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed iPhone 14 Pro models will be more expensive than iPhone 13 Pro models. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing, but he said that the average selling price of all four iPhone 14 models will increase by about 15% overall. While higher prices would be disappointing for customers, it is possible the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will offer increased...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Silver

Kuo: Apple to Increase Prices of iPhone 14 Pro Models

Wednesday August 10, 2022 8:22 am PDT by
Apple plans to increase the prices of iPhone 14 Pro models compared to iPhone 13 Pro models, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing for the iPhone 14 Pro models. However, in a tweet today, he estimated that the average selling price of the iPhone 14 lineup as a whole will increase by about 15% compared to the iPhone 13 lineup. In the United States, the iPhone...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive feature

iPhone 14 Is Just a Few Weeks Away: Three Tips to Prepare for the New iPhone

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:08 am PDT by
The launch of the new iPhone 14 is just a few weeks away, meaning millions of iPhone customers will soon upgrade their existing iPhone or perhaps get an iPhone for the first time. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo Whether upgrading from an older model or this is your first iPhone, we've rounded up a few tips to help you prepare for the next flagship...
z fold 4 1

Hands-On With Samsung's Latest Foldable Smartphones, the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip

Friday August 12, 2022 12:46 pm PDT by
Samsung this week launched its fourth-generation foldable devices, the $1,000 Galaxy Z Flip and the $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold. Though there's no sign of a comparable Apple foldable device on the horizon, rumors suggest prototypes are in the works, so we thought we'd take a look at Samsung's newest smartphones to see what Apple needs to measure up to when a foldable iPhone does come out. Subscribe ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro: Analyst Believes Storage Will Continue to Start at 128GB Despite Rumored Price Increase

Friday August 12, 2022 7:04 am PDT by
It wouldn't be the month before an iPhone launch without a few back-and-forth rumors, with the latest debate concerning iPhone 14 Pro storage. iPhone 14 Pro render by Ian Zelbo While research firm TrendForce forecasted that iPhone 14 Pro models could start with an increased 256GB of storage, Haitong International analyst Jeff Pu today forecasted that the upcoming Pro models will continue to...