The new feature will be part of iOS 12, the upcoming software update for the iPhone and iPad, and will help emergency services locate a person more quickly when in need. It will be available to users in the U.S. only.
“Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal,” Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said.
In 2015, Apple launched Hybridized Emergency Location (HELO), which uses cell towers and other information like Wi-Fi access points to determine a 911 caller’s location. The new update will use technology developed by a company called RapidSOS to share that location data with emergency services.
Apple emphasized that the data cannot be used for any non-emergency purposes and only the responding 911 center will be able to access the location of a caller.
In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules that require mobile carriers to allow 911 centers to identify a location within 50 meters of a person 80 percent of the time by 2021. Apple claims that its iOS location services can already do this today.
“Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal,” Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said in a statement Monday.
“When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance.”