YouTuber Brian Tong is distracted. While he was walking like everyone else nearby Stevens Creek Reservoir In California, he leaves his car without turning off the headlights. After recharging his batteries in the middle of nature, he returns to his car and discovers that he can no longer open anything. Even though we are only 10 kilometers from Apple Park (by coincidence of course), it is a white area. It would have been really bad luck if Brian didn’t have a brand new iPhone 15 Pro, a smartphone capable of calling satellite roadside assistance!
It was too good a chance not to test this new thing, you think. No more sarcasm, the offer is interesting, because the procedure is a little different from the satellite emergency calls launched last year. To initiate a call, you must open the Messages app and start a conversation with a recipient named On the Road. No need to add them to your contacts first, as iOS 17 automatically provides the functionality if you don’t have access to a cellular network.
The Apple interface that we already know then appears, confirming the activation of the function and reminding you of the instructions. To access the satellites, you must be outside and wait while each message is sent and received. The system also asks you to choose a service provider to contact for troubleshooting, knowing that the function was only launched with AAA in the United States. However, it is encouraging to know that everything is ready for launch in other countries.
The exchange then takes place directly through the Messages app, more freely than emergency calls. The first message asks you to enter your AAA member number, and if everyone can use the repair service for a fee, then the zip code of the location to enter. You then have to enter the make, model, year and color of the vehicle and that’s enough to send a repairman who can take care of small problems, like a dead battery or a flat tire.
The video is not real time and we cannot tell what time the satellite exchange ends. However, transmission and reception can take several tens of seconds each time, and even then, only under ideal conditions. Of course, you also have to rely on waiting for the repairman to intervene, especially in remote areas. But in any case, it will always be better than having to walk a few (tens?) kilometers to find a cellular network and then just call for help…
Apple has not provided a timeline for opening up this extension of satellite emergency calling to the rest of the world. However, we know that it is within the same functionality package offered for two years in theory, even if the free period was recently extended by one year.
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