Apple on Tuesday announced new features aimed at helping keep drivers safe on the road. Namely, the Cupertino tech giant unveiled new Satellite Roadside Assistance for iPhone users.
The new option is bound to be a welcome addition to Apple’s slate of health and safety features. But, you may have questions about how it works, how much it costs, and what types of assistance you can get.
With all of that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about the Roadside Assistance via Satellite feature announced during Apple’s Wonderlust event.
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What is Roadside Assistance via Satellite?
The new Satellite Roadside Assistance feature builds on existing features introduced with the iPhone 14 series. Previously, Apple’s safety suite allowed users to contact emergency services via satellite — a system that provides peace of mind when off-grid.
Roadside Assistance via Satellite works similarly but is aimed at less life-threatening scenarios. Using satellites allows users to easily access roadside assistance, including sharing their current locations with providers.
The best part is that users don’t necessarily need a working cellular signal or Wi-Fi to contact roadside assistance vendors. Because of that, the new satellite-enabled feature allows users to get help with their vehicles more easily, no matter where they happen to be.
There are key differences between Apple’s satellite features and others, too. Apple’s iPhones use special antennas to connect with Globalstar satellites. That makes the system more reliable and useful than services like Lynk, which uses cell towers to connect to satellites.
How does Roadside Assistance via Satellite work?
Users with a compatible iPhone 14 or iPhone 15 model can access the Roadside Assistance via Satellite feature through a new dedicated interface.
As with the previous Emergency SOS feature, satellite roadside assistance guides users through the process of connecting their iPhones to a satellite. From there, the roadside assistance provider messages the user directly and asks what type of help is needed.
iPhone Satellite Roadside assistance helps with:
- Being locked out of their vehicles.
- Running out of gas or charge on their cars.
- Flat tires.
- Vehicles that won’t start.
- A stuck vehicle.
- Or other issues.
Once a user requests satellite roadside assistance, the vendor confirms the user’s location via satellite and dispatches the necessary help.
Does Roadside Assistance via Satellite cost any money?
Apple said that they will offer the satellite-based feature as a free service to iPhone 15 users for two years after the purchase date. Initially, roadside assistance is provided through a partnership with AAA for folks in the United States only.
It’s important to note that connecting with a roadside assistance provider is free for two years, but you’ll still need to pay for the roadside assistance, according to AAA.
For example, existing AAA members can get their normal roadside assistance via satellite. Satellite connectivity is included with a standard membership. Non-members can still get help but must pay for the specific services upon completion.
What’s the future of iPhone satellite features?
The Roadside Assistance via Satellite feature is only be available in the U.S. to start. So, Apple has room to expand the features to other regions and countries in the future.
Of course, Apple could also include additional functionality to its satellite-based communications. This could include allowing users to call or text other iPhone users via satellite for additional fees.
In the meantime, however, Apple’s health and safety features keep users safe no matter where they are in the world and what they are doing.