Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

Apple’s next update will help emergency responders find you

June 18, 2018

iPhones will automatically send your location data to emergency call centers.

Some background: While 911 services have been able to locate landline users for decades, cell phone location is much more difficult to determine, causing delays for emergency responders. Current positioning estimates can be hundreds of yards wide. Lowering response times by just one minute could save up to 10,000 lives annually.

The news: Apple is collaborating with RapidSOS, a startup that makes technology that pulls location information from smartphones directly into 911 call center software. An operating system update later this year will put this program on all iPhones. With this update, all iPhone users calling 911 will also immediately send the call center their location.

Apple isn’t alone: Google is experimenting with similar software. Its tests have been able to drill down to an accuracy of 121 feet.

Why it matters: This partnership will help update US emergency response systems which are still rooted in the landline age. Getting device makers on board is a big step toward getting them into the 21st century, saving lives in the process.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.