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This Critical 911 Feature in iOS 12 Could Save Your Life

19 June 2018

As The Wall Street Journal noted, Google late a year ago tested a similar setup with RapidSOS and West Corp. that delivered more accurate location data from Android devices to 911 call centers. While some of these mobile devices do not have geo-location detection features, majority do, and in the USA, a large chunk of them run Apple's iOS.

With the newest software update for your iPhone and iPad this fall, Apple's partnership with the RapidSOS service will be embedded on a system level, and you won't need to download the adjacent app to send even more precise coordinates when you call 911. We firmly believe that the best technology should be available to 9-1-1 when it matters the most.

The FCC is requiring all carriers to have the capability to locate mobile callers within 50 meters (164 feet) for at least 80 percent of wireless 911 calls by 2021. Currently, Apple uses what it calls Hybridized Emergency Location to estimate a 911 caller's whereabouts with the help of Global Positioning System and nearby Wi-Fi access points.

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Approximately 80 percent of 911 calls today come from mobile devices, but outdated, landline-era infrastructure often makes it hard for 911 centers to quickly and accurately obtain a mobile caller's location.

To do this, Apple says iOS 12 will use two technologies.

Apple is trying to solve a potentially unsafe emergency response infrastructure problem.

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On Monday, Apple unveiled plans to work with 911 centers to automatically share the exact locations of iPhone users that need to call in an emergency. With today's announcement, Apple is announcing that it will also use RapidSOS's data pipeline to quickly and securely share your HELO data with 911 centres allowing for a faster response. Global Positioning System location data will also be used.

Dennis Patrick, FCC Chairman from 1987 to 1989, seconded Wheeler's statement, adding that helping 911 services access caller location has been a challenge for the FCC since his time with the commission. An operating system update later this year will put this program on all iPhones.

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This Critical 911 Feature in iOS 12 Could Save Your Life