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.


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.

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

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This is basically the European version of the US Wireless Enhanced 911 Phase II, which was deployed about 10 years ago. The the US version uses network infrastructure to determine your location when your phone has no hardware or can't get a GPS signal.

The Europeans don't want to force carriers to install hardware at every cell site, so this solution is just software on the handset.
 

oneMadRssn

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Sep 8, 2011
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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.
 

Craiger

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Jul 11, 2007
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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.
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?
 
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BigMcGuire

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Having called 911 because of accidents a handful of times in the last few years --- this will be nice. Having to answer the : "Where are you?" .... then wait hold on, lemme open maps.... or run to a street sign is maddening when someone needs help right away.

I wonder if it can help with the initial 911 call? Because I'm out here in the California high desert, I always get forwarded to the CHP (California Highway Patrol) for the first call then when they find out where I am, they forward me to the local PD. Maybe CHP runs the boards out here?
 
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oneMadRssn

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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.
 
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NightFox

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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.
 

mazz0

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Just curious, why would you want to turn it off?
Heh, I figured that was a joke, aimed at people who want to turn off the battery saving cpu speed reducing feature because they think it's "planned obsolescence".
[doublepost=1516813040][/doublepost]
This is basically the European version of the US Wireless Enhanced 911 Phase II, which was deployed about 10 years ago. The the US version uses network infrastructure to determine your location when your phone has no hardware or can't get a GPS signal.

The Europeans don't want to force carriers to install hardware at every cell site, so this solution is just software on the handset.
Why would they need to install additional hardware on the masts? Surely they already know where they are? Or do you mean special hardware that provides a more accurate location for a user than just triangulating based on signal strength are various towers?

This seems like such an important feature it seems a it rubbish that Apple have taken years to implement it.
 

Altis

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Sep 10, 2013
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Off topic, but holy smokes that dialer gets more plain and ugly with every update.

It used to look nice, like someone put thought and effort into it. Now it looks like a few default elements tossed into a blank page.
 

Scottsoapbox

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So Apple is finally implementing something Android has done for years. Huzzah. I miss Apple being better at stuff.
 

konqerror

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I wonder if it can help with the initial 911 call? Because I'm out here in the California high desert, I always get forwarded to the CHP (California Highway Patrol) for the first call then when they find out where I am, they forward me to the local PD. Maybe CHP runs the boards out here?
No, this feature has no impact in the US because we have a better system already deployed. California fully deployed WE911 Phase I in 2006. This means where you are routed depends on the cell site sector. You can be routed to city police, sheriff, CHP or even military and University police. If the sector overlaps a highway or multiple jurisdictions, or the local agency opts out, it goes to CHP.

You can't use handset location for the initial call routing because it takes tens of seconds to get a fix, if at all.
 
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BigMcGuire

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No, this feature has no impact in the US because we have a better system already deployed. California fully deployed WE911 Phase I in 2006. This means where you are routed depends on the cell site sector. You can be routed to city police, sheriff, CHP or even military and University police. If the sector overlaps a highway or multiple jurisdictions, or the local agency opts out, it goes to CHP.

You can't use handset location for the initial call routing because it takes tens of seconds to get a fix, if at all.
Very cool - I appreciate the information! Yeah, I've always appreciated when the CHP transfers me to the local PD up here and they instantly know where I am without me having to describe much because they're locals too. And that makes perfect sense because I'm right on a highway. Thanks!
 

Relentless Power

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Jul 12, 2016
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Having called 911 because of accidents a handful of times in the last few years --- this will be nice. Having to answer the : "Where are you?" .... then wait hold on, lemme open maps.... or run to a street sign is maddening when someone needs help right away.

I wonder if it can help with the initial 911 call? Because I'm out here in the California high desert, I always get forwarded to the CHP (California Highway Patrol) for the first call then when they find out where I am, they forward me to the local PD. Maybe CHP runs the boards out here?
I agree. I work for the law enforcement sector, and I can tell you by the time an emergency responder tries to ping your cell phone to your exact location, it can take up to 3-5 minutes to even receive an accurate measurement of where you are exactly located. This iPhone service could actually be more helpful and alleviate dispatchers from having to figure out exactly where you are, which they can multitask on other tasks. (I.e. Dispatching other EMS services, gather additional details, etc.)
 
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GrumpyMom

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Very cool - I appreciate the information! Yeah, I've always appreciated when the CHP transfers me to the local PD up here and they instantly know where I am without me having to describe much because they're locals too. And that makes perfect sense because I'm right on a highway. Thanks!
Since you get transferred anyway, have you entered your local PD number as a contact yet? I've done that for Poison Control because I'm around pets and kids all the time, so I decided to put it in. Back when I was a kid, my parents just stuck the MR Yuck sticker with the number on the old landline phones.
 
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BigMcGuire

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Since you get transferred anyway, have you entered your local PD number as a contact yet? I've done that for Poison Control because I'm around pets and kids all the time, so I decided to put it in. Back when I was a kid, my parents just stuck the MR Yuck sticker with the number on the old landline phones.
Yep, we do that now if we have to call for PD related calls (which we have) saves a ton of time. I'm not entirely certain if I should be calling the local PD for medical emergencies or just police issues?
 

A.Goldberg

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Sounds good. The few times I’ve ever called 911 in Massachusetts have been incredibly annoying... mostly because of vague boundaries between cities/towns in the metro area. When you call 911 via cell you get connected to state police and then connected to local. If you don’t know where you are precisely, it’s possibke you’ll get transferred to the wrong department who will then have to transfer you again.

The one flaw with this system, at least in the US, is that not all 911 centers accept text messages, if I’m not mistaken.
 
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GrumpyMom

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Yep, we do that now if we have to call for PD related calls (which we have) saves a ton of time. I'm not entirely certain if I should be calling the local PD for medical emergencies or just police issues?
Probably just the police issues. For medical it's always a good idea to have a trusted contact you can activate via an emergency press. My Samsung had this and I designated my husband since he always takes my calls and the Samsung will also transmit a video clip. I had a medical emergency a couple of years ago, it caused crushing incredible pain like a heart attack but was just a precancerous condition trying to do an impression of one.

I activated the emergency contact and my husband was able to call the paramedics for me since talking was not my strong suit at that time.

Samsung has the best implementation of emergency services that I've seen but Apple is really stepping up. It's just confusing right now to remember how to activate it. Samsung is too easy to activate, so I have it contacting only my husband and not summoning 911 at this point.

Edit correction: As I recall, I think I did end up texting my husband on an iPhone for that particular emergency. I used the Samsung for something else another time.
 
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