Apple’s latest iOS update is transforming iPhones into high-tech roadside assistance beacons, enabling stranded drivers to summon help from the stars.
iOS 17.2 activates satellite connectivity on iPhone 14 and 15 models, allowing them to bypass cell towers and ping emergency responders directly from space. It builds on the existing emergency call features baked into iPhones for years.
Now iPhone users on Verizon’s network can tap into additional roadside rescue capabilities for just $4.99 per month per line. That’s a fraction of the price of ad-hoc tow truck calls or on-demand fuel and battery assistance.
Activating Verizon’s add-on roadside plan is simple – just open the Messages app and type “roadside” to connect. From there, Verizon guides users through confirming vehicle details, location and the nature of the issue. Coordinating with one of Verizon’s nationwide assistance providers, help can then be efficiently dispatched.
The process leverages Apple’s satellite infrastructure to enable communication from virtually anywhere, even deep off the grid. Previously, Apple offered free access to 2 years of satellite SOS calls via a deal with AAA. Purchase of an iPhone 14 or 15 still includes this complimentary safety net.
But the Verizon tie-up takes things further for a small recurring fee. It turns the iPhone into an emergency hotline to summon a mechanics, tow trucks and tire changes from out of thin air, almost anywhere in the continental U.S.
Between supersized antennas and bleeding edge chips, Apple keeps finding new ways to extend the reach of the iPhone. Now the device’s growing bag of connectivity tricks includes calling home from places no cell signal could ever hope to penetrate.
So next time your Apple device earns its keep by saving the day, don’t forget to thank the satellites! iOS 17.2 reinforces the versatility and utility today’s smartphones provide on the road and beyond, for both emergencies and everyday peace of mind.