New iPhone Update Will Share Your Location During 9-1-1 Calls

Photo: via Getty Images

It seems just about everyone has a smartphone these days, right? Most, if not all of these smartphones have location and GPS services for user convenience. Well, Apple is using its location services to help save lives!

Apple announced that with the arrival of iOS 12 in the fall, people who call 9-1-1 using an iPhone, would be able to automatically and securely share their location with first responders. This is revolutionary and can potentially save more lives.

The new emergency call technology promises to reduce the time for the victim of an accident, crime, fire, or health emergency to get help.

Apple notes that approximately 80 percent of emergency calls in the United States are now made from a mobile device, however “outdated” infrastructure has made it difficult for 911 centers to quickly obtain a caller’s location. 

Here are some released details on how this will work: The new iOS 12 change builds on Apple’s Hybridized Emergency Location (HELO) system launched in 2015, and it will be integrated with existing software on “many” 911 centers’ systems with the help of emergency tech company RapidSOS.

“This will accelerate the deployment of Next Generation 911 for everyone,” Apple’s announcement quotes Rob McMullen, President of the National Emergency Number Association, “saving lives and protecting property.”

If you're worried about privacy, know that Apple’s emphasis on privacy has also been underlined in the company’s announcement today, which notes that user data “cannot be used for any non-emergency purpose.”

The FCC requires carriers to locate callers to within 50 meters at least 80 percent of the time by 2021. Apple says iOS location services are capable of exceeding this requirement today, even in challenging dense-urban environments. 

Apple isn't the first company to take this step. In fact, Uber recently partnered with RapidSOS on 911 location-sharing. 

What are your guys' thoughts on this? Do you like this or feel its unnecessary?


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