Apple has announced that iOS 12 will automatically share your location with emergency services when you call 911, allowing those who respond to your call to locate you faster. The RapidSOS solution will benefit from the same underlying location solution, which Apple calls HELO and says uses cell towers, GPS, and Wi-Fi hardware to estimate the user's address.
'When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance'.
RapidSOS' protocol is already integrated with many USA 911 emergency centers, which makes Apple's new iOS 12 feature production-ready from the minute it's scheduled to launch this fall. Apple will also use technology from emergency technology company RapidSOS to share HELO location data with 911 centers.
Both Android and iOS already offer Advanced Mobile Location (AML) services, sending the best geolocation your phone can muster to emergency services when you call the local number, yet Apple is taking things to the next level with iOS 12.
Apple is trying to solve a potentially risky emergency response infrastructure problem. With this update, all iPhone users calling 911 will also immediately send the call center their location. While it will be turned on by default for all users who update to iOS 12 in the US, there will be the option to opt out.
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Individual call centers will each have to embrace the technology required to communicate with the RapidSOS clearinghouse. It's another iOS 12 feature that the company is touting with ample privacy measures attached to it.
Apple said in its brief that the case "presents issues of national importance given the increasing prevalence of electronic commerce and the agency sales model".
'This is going to save a lot of lives, ' said Wheeler, now a visiting professor at Harvard University.
The planned changes were announced Monday in Nashville, Tennessee during a 911 convention.
The new feature will be packaged as part of iOS 12, an iPhone software update due later this year.