iPhone's Roadside Assistance via Satellite Feature Tested in New Video

Starting with iOS 17, all iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 models offer a roadside assistance via satellite feature that allows users in the U.S. to contact roadside assistance company AAA for vehicle service when outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage. In a video shared today, tech reviewer Brian Tong provided a look at the feature in action.

apple roadside assistance
To use the feature, open the Messages app and start a new message. Next, type "roadside" into the address field. When there is no cellular and Wi-Fi coverage available, a "Roadside Assistance" option will appear. Tap on "Roadside Assistance" and follow the on-screen instructions to connect your iPhone to a Globalstar satellite and request help from AAA. You'll need to be outside with a clear view of the sky and horizon, according to Apple.

Tong demoed the feature by having AAA come to jump-start his car's battery. The feature can also be used if you are locked out of your vehicle, have a flat tire, run out of fuel, and for other services offered by AAA.


The feature is included free for two years starting at the time of activation of any new iPhone 14 or iPhone 15 model, with service covered per your AAA membership plan. If you aren't a AAA member, you can still use the service on a pay-per-use basis.

Apple said roadside assistance via satellite is available "beginning" in the U.S., suggesting that it will expand the feature to additional countries over time, but it has not provided any specific details. In Canada, there is a AAA-like organization called CAA, so it would make sense for the service to expand to that country eventually.

Roadside assistance via satellite is an extension of the Emergency SOS via satellite feature. Apple recently extended free usage of the satellite features for an additional year.

Related Roundups: iOS 17, iPadOS 17
Related Forums: iOS 17, iPadOS 17

Top Rated Comments

xxFoxtail Avatar
26 weeks ago
I would have never known to type roadside into a new message.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LogicalApex Avatar
26 weeks ago

I get their point. Apple could add a button to access the feature in Settings > Emergency SOS.
Even having it be clicking on the satellite symbol in the row of status icons that would bring up a menu of the options would be a massive improvement.

They could present a button in the messages app now that you’re in SOS Satellite mode to on board you to your options if you need them.

So many things they could do to improve this flow to increase discoverability and usefulness.

It feels like they hid this like a gesture. Except there isn’t anything “natural” about accessing it this way.

My guess is they are still improving on the feature and are trying to limit its use until they’ve completed. Only way I can explain such a complex usability flow for a company that focuses more on user experience than anyone else in the technology industry.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ELman Avatar
26 weeks ago
As a AAA member this is great news.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mnsportsgeek Avatar
26 weeks ago

Seems like a very awkward way to access a critical emergency feature
Seems like exactly how you access it
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Joe Rossignol Avatar
26 weeks ago

It's perfectly fine and easy. If you fear it, then I'd suggest you NEVER drive anywhere without cellular coverage. Just out of curiosity, how would you suggest Apple should do it?
I get their point. Apple could add a button to access the feature in Settings > Emergency SOS.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
citysnaps Avatar
26 weeks ago
Whoa... What a killer feature! And unexpected - thanx Apple.

I can see using this on roadtrips where cellular service is non-existent, spotty, or unreliable. Such as Joshua Tree National Park or the Mojave Desert, as just two examples.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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