Apple is trying to make dealing with emergency situations a little easier. The Cupertino company announced that whenever iPhone users make a 911 call on an iOS 12 device, it will automatically share location data with first responders to help reduce emergency response time.
According to Apple, about 80-percent of 911 calls come from mobile devices but there are still a number of calls that come from landlines which run on a system developed by AT&T back in the 1960s. To resolve this issue, Apple launched HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location) back in 2015 to better estimate the location of 911 callers. Now it is taking the next step in teaming up RapidSOS, a emergency technology company, to share HELO location data with 911 centers, improving response time.
“Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best technology at their disposal,” said Tim Cook of the announcement. “When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they need assistance.”
Currently, the FCC requires carriers to locate emergency callers within 50 meters. Apple can exceed this with iPhone location services and automatically share this information, cutting wasted time during emergency situations.
The location feature will only be available for the iPhone for right now, but Apple plans on bring the feature over to the Apple Watch and iPad in the future.
Apple will roll out the public release of iOS 12 in the fall.