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Apple finally lets USA callers share their location with 911

19 June, 2018, 04:19 | Author: Lloyd Doyle
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With about 80 percent of 911 calls made from mobile devices, it's sometimes hard for emergency responders to pinpoint the location of those callers.

Apple is trying to drag the US's antiquated system for handling 911 calls into the 21st century. The service, as you could have guessed from the emergency number mention, is for US users only (Europe has its own 112 number), and works as a supplement to the current AML mapping dispatchers are used to.

iPhones will soon automatically share your location with first responders when you call 911, thanks to a new partnership between Apple and startup RapidSOS. According to Apple, iOS location services already exceed this requirement, while Apple's new feature will allow the company to make these benefits available to local 911 centers now.

In the near future, when you call for emergency services in the US, Apple will automatically share your location with dispatchers. Apple is integrating RapidSOS's technology into its existing HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location) system.

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

'When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance'.


In 2015, Apple launched HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location), which would estimate a caller's location using Global Positioning System and Wi-Fi Access points.

Bottom line: Apple has announced a new feature arriving in iOS 12 that has the potential to save lives.

When the feature becomes available, 'Apple phones will send fast and accurate device location to the NG911 Clearinghouse when a user dials 9-1-1, ' RapidSOS explained in a blog post.

Apple says the location data can not be shared if 911 has not been called, and that RapidSOS' data will be separate from that held by cellphone carriers.

Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said "lives will be saved".

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