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iOS 18 is giving iPhone users who find themselves in an emergency situation a way to provide more information and context to emergency responders with an update to Emergency SOS.

emergency-sos.jpg

Emergency SOS now supports live video, which means once the SOS feature is activated, streaming video and recorded media can be sent to emergency personnel. Emergency dispatchers can send a request for a user to share either live video or a video from the camera roll, which Apple says should make it easier and faster to get help.

Video is sent over a secure connection to the emergency dispatcher. The option could allow those in emergency situations to send key information for location purposes, to assess injury or risk, or to be used as evidence at a later date.

Emergency SOS is a feature on the iPhone and Apple Watch that automatically calls the local emergency number and shares location information with emergency services. It is the backbone of the Crash Detection, Fall Detection, and Emergency SOS via satellite features.

Article Link: iOS 18 Gains Emergency SOS Live Video Support
 

Shirasaki

macrumors P6
May 16, 2015
15,882
11,257
Shouldn’t audio and video streaming be activated automatically in an emergency, provided there’s a setting to enable it? What are the odds of people in a crisis situation to figure out how to use their iPhone to provide consent? Imo, they should also disable the usual ”privacy indicators“ (those orange/green/blue dots when you use certain functions of your iPhone such as camera) in an emergency call so The perpetrators would have less of a clue what’s actually happening.
 

rumorphobe

macrumors newbie
Jun 20, 2022
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I wonder if Apple removed this from WWDC after RapidSOS tried to upstage them by announcing RCS with Google just days before the event? I wonder why RapidSOS acted like that?
 
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xmach

macrumors regular
Sep 10, 2020
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Wait, you'll be able to send video but RCS over SOS Sat is still too bloated to work over it?

You're confusing two very different scenarios.

Apple has said that RCS is too inefficient for general-use texting (maybe thousands or hundreds of thousands of messages a day, maybe even more?). This is not incompatible with allowing video for the much more limited and rare emergency/SOS scenarios (probably no more than a handful or a few dozen SOS calls/day?).

Apple's implementation so far is entirely logical and reasonable.

Perhaps, in the future, as the capacity of Globalstar's satellite network continues to increase, Apple will eventually enable video for general use. For now though, capacity is limited, and it makes sense to limit video to only emergency use.
 

bassjunky

macrumors regular
Jun 15, 2009
230
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Texas
Maybe I missed this, but how does this work? In my IT days. I would occasionally go into the 911/emergency dispatch office for my county. Would dispatchers need any specific Apple hardware, or is this all through a secure website/portal?
 

NightFox

macrumors 68040
May 10, 2005
3,274
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Shropshire, UK
Wondering if it shows the mic and camera light at the top of the screen? Otherwise big brother may be watching. :rolleyes:
IF you really do think that Apple would build some sort of surveillance capability into the iPhone, why do you think they would need to ‘sneak it in’ along with another function like this? They could bake it in the the OS anytime. And I’d like to think they’d have the foresight and technological competence to make sure the privacy warning indicators didn’t come on when ‘big brother was watching’.
 

burgman

macrumors 68030
Sep 24, 2013
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I wonder if Apple removed this from WWDC after RapidSOS tried to upstage them by announcing RCS with Google just days before the event? I wonder why RapidSOS acted like that?
The two services aren't similar at all. I imagine Google loves having access to the 500 million always connected devices RapidSOS keeps pushing in their advertising. Google says the service is for when you can't make a 911 call,
"Google’s new feature will help users who are stuck in areas where they might not be able to get in touch with emergency services through call or text." If you can't make a call very unlikely you have a data connection. Google will buy them for the data hoovering alone. Android 15 hints at having messaging via satellite with no details on system used.
 
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smithrh

macrumors 68030
Feb 28, 2009
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911 centers in the US are typically underfunded and understaffed, and not especially up-to-date technically. Do not expect this to be widespread for years. While it's good that Apple is moving things forward, there's a lot of tech that needs to be budgeted for, purchased, installed and integrated at the 911 call centers (PSAPs) before it works at all.

Also, satellite cannot supplant terrestrial networks, ever. Physics and all that.
 
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kc9hzn

macrumors 68000
Jun 18, 2020
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Shouldn’t audio and video streaming be activated automatically in an emergency, provided there’s a setting to enable it? What are the odds of people in a crisis situation to figure out how to use their iPhone to provide consent? Imo, they should also disable the usual ”privacy indicators“ (those orange/green/blue dots when you use certain functions of your iPhone such as camera) in an emergency call so The perpetrators would have less of a clue what’s actually happening.
Depends on the category of “emergency”. Not every emergency call is going to be a kidnapping or active shooter situation, after all. Maybe it’ll be reporting a major car accident, or, via satellite, it might be that you’ve encountered a severely injured or lost hiker (to say nothing of being injured or lost yourself). So hiding the usual privacy icons really only makes sense in an extreme domestic violence situation or the fairly rare occurrence of being abducted by a complete stranger (and I’d be surprised if the abductor let you keep your phone).

Edit: And with RapidSOS, it seems like there’s already a lot of context the 911 dispatch is getting (including video feeds in the area of the call) that would have required vocal descriptions 10 to 15 years ago. They probably don’t need video for 90% of 911 calls with all the context they have these days. And they’ve already got streaming audio, it’s a phone call (by definition, that’s real time audio). There’s been a lot going on in the backend to modernize 911 that flew completely under my radar until I watched the video someone linked in this thread about backcountry SOS.
 
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wigby

macrumors 68030
Jun 7, 2007
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It doesn't say it works over satellite. It's probably cellular only.
This story is only about the SOS feature which is defined by not having any cellular service. You cannot even access SOS unless you have no cellular so I don’t see how requiring cellular for video helps anyone.
 
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