IOS 12 Will Add New Emergency Calling Feature

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The feature, which will only be available to those in the United States and will not hook into worldwide emergency services, will be powered by RapidSOS's IP-based system and will securely provide call centers with Hybridized Emergency Location Data by pulling data based on proximity to WiFi access points and cell towers. "This advancement from Apple and RapidSOS will be transformative for emergency response in the United States".

Emergency responders are sometimes dispatched a mile or more away from a caller's location.

Apple added support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) in iOS 11.3, which automatically shares locations when calls are made to emergency services but only in countries where the feature is supported.

Bottom line: Apple has announced a new feature arriving in iOS 12 that has the potential to save lives. "When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance". It does this, as you've probably guessed, using the iPhone's readily-available data connection to the internet.

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Apple maintains that its users' location data will remain private, even when it's shared with authorities. Apple typically releases its major iOS updates in September. "We are excited to work with Apple to provide first responders a new path for accurate, device-based caller location using transformative Next Generation 911 technology". The service is free for call centers to implement.

Some centers already have the compatible software, according to Apple, but others will have to install upgrades to their existing software.

Apple's competitors have similarly experimented with getting users' location data to 911 call centers.

Tom Wheeler, a former chairman for the Federal Communications Commission, believes Apple's new approach for locating 911 calls will set a new industry standard.

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