Apple finally enables life-saving iPhone emergency settings

“Apple just announced that the next version of iOS, 11.3, will enable Advanced Mobile Location (AML), which automatically sends your location to emergency services in countries that support the solution,” Már Másson Maack writes for TNW.

“This is a pleasant surprise since Apple had been weirdly reluctant to enable the feature as TNW covered last year,” Maack writes. “The company ignored requests to enable AML and didn’t reply to TNW when asked about it, while Google enabled it for Android way back in July 2016.”

Maack writes, “The European Emergency Number Association (EENA)’s executive director, Gary Machado, told TNW that he was happy with the tech giant’s announcement: ‘This is huge news for people’s safety. It literally means saving more lives. From spring onwards, both Android and iOS devices will be able to provide accurate location to rescuers. It is now up to the countries to deploy AML everywhere in the world.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As for privacy concerns, which we’re fairly sure Apple has considered given the company’s thankfully hardline stance on user privacy, the EENA’s website states, “The technology is dormant on the smartphone and the location sources (either GPS or Wi-Fi) is only activated when the emergency call is made.”

Apple previews iOS 11.3 with new battery health features, ability to turn processor throttling on and off, and more – January 24, 2018
Emergency services organizations call for Apple to implement life-saving location feature – August 10, 2017


  1. For a second there, I thought you said that Apple released a bug-free macOS update. :/

    The macOS 10.13.3 update is LITERALLY SHIT!

    I can’t view anything in the Mac App Store app nor the iTunes Store in iTunes. Bloody f***ing idiots. :/

    Also, they STILL HAVE NOT fixed the Finder window issue where you lose/get double drive listings in the sidebar. Again, bloody f***ing idiots. :/

    1. I guess I should be happy I haven’t been able to install 10.13.2 or 10.13.3. The update goes as normal, but once it appears to have installed and I return to my desktop, I get the message “some updates failed to install” and I’m still at 10.13.1. Repeating the process or downloading directly from Apple’s site instead of the App Store doesn’t help.

  2. How is this different from the present sos feature?

    “When you make a call with SOS, your iPhone automatically calls the local emergency number. In some countries and regions, you might need to choose the service that you need. For example, in China you can choose police, fire, or ambulance.
    You can also add emergency contacts. After an emergency call ends, your iPhone alerts your emergency contacts with a text message, unless you choose to cancel. Your iPhone sends them your current location, and, for a period of time after you enter SOS mode, it sends updates to your emergency contacts when your location changes. “

    1. What this does is to make iPhones compliant with the AML service which is widely used around the world, but not currently in the US as far as I’m aware.

      If you make an emergency call within any country supporting that protocol, the emergency services will automatically receive notification of your exact location so that there is no ambiguity about where you are.

      I would have been very grateful for such a feature a couple of years ago when my wife fell ill in the middle of the night while we were visiting a small town in the former east Germany. The emergency services operator didn’t speak any English ( in the GDR, people over the age of 40 were taught Russian as their second language ). I could speak enough German to make it clear that an ambulance was needed, but I was unable to pronounce the name of the street sufficiently well for them to work out where I was calling from. They decided that it might be one of two roads, so sent an ambulance to both. A system like AML would have entirely solved that problem and would have got the ambulance there much sooner and would have meant that I could have stayed in the AirBnB apartment with my wife, rather than having to stand on the street looking out for the ambulance.

  3. Google had this feature two years ago. Google was saving more lives than Apple for two years. I guess Google is more innovative than Apple if not more caring and responsible. Don’t ya think?

    1. Where’s the evidence? Can you come up with more than a single story with someone with a google phone declaring “oh yeah, this phone saved my life! They came right to me!”

    2. If you think it’s so important, what have you done to make sure that AML is adopted in America? Countries like Lithuania and Estonia fully implemented it four or five years ago. Why hasn’t the USA?

      By the way, AML wasn’t developed by Google at all, it was developed by British Telecom and then built into the Android operating system and now into IOS.

      An interesting aspect of it is that when an emergency call is made, it automatically switches on cellular data if it had been switched off, checks with a time server to send a precise time and sends a invisible SMS message specifying the exact latitude and longitude to within 30 metres – often better than 15 metres. It connects via cellular or WiFi, whichever is stronger at that location. The location information is also verified via a ‘sanity check’, using other less precise location information to determine that the location is plausible. The precise location information reaches the emergency services within twenty seconds of the call being initiated.

      It has been rumoured that Apple had been uneasy about the fact that IMSI/EMEI information was being transmitted unencrypted. I don’t know how this privacy concern has been resolved, but the IMSI/EMEI data was necessary to identify the SIM card and handset used to make the call in the event of malicious calls.

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