Apple's SOS feature saved a family's life in the Maui fires

Emre Çitak
Aug 11, 2023

Apple's Emergency SOS satellite connectivity feature, which debuted last November, has been instrumental in various dramatic, life-saving rescues, including helping lost hikers in L.A. County and stranded snowmobilers in Alaska.

Recently, the feature was pivotal in assisting a family struggling to escape wildfires in Maui.

How did a smartphone feature save a family from Maui fires?

The incident occurred when Michael J. Miraflor's relative and his family were on holiday in Maui's Lahaina area and found themselves surrounded by flames. Despite being in a central tourist location where one would expect cell service, the family likely lost connection as the fires consumed the infrastructure.

Apple Emergency SOS Maui fire 2023
The family managed to escape the Maui fire thanks to Apple's emergency SOS

Using the iPhone 14's satellite-based Emergency SOS service, they were able to send a message for help with the desperate call, "PLEASE ADVISE! FIRE EVERYWHERE". It took approximately 34 minutes of communication between the iPhone 14, Apple's Emergency SOS dispatch center, and local authorities before the rescue was successfully concluded.

Worth every penny

Apple has invested a considerable amount into the Emergency SOS via satellite feature, around $450 million in the U.S. The iPhone 14 and 14 Pro models have the necessary hardware for this feature, and it's expected to be continued in the upcoming iPhone 15.

The SOS service has expanded globally to countries including the U.S., Canada, most of Western Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. International travelers can also benefit from this feature unless they purchased their phones in mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macao


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  1. Anonymous said on August 11, 2023 at 12:57 pm

    Damn I wish I were rich enough to buy an iPhone. The phone can literally save your life.

    I guess it’s just evolution though, we Android users who failed to thrive financially die and iPhone users who are wealthier get to live.
    Hell, you don’t just get to live, you also get to love — women hate green bubbles! I hate being an Android loser.

    1. Davin Peterson said on August 11, 2023 at 2:01 pm

      yes, most people don’t need (or can afford) an expensive flagship phone
      A low or mid-range Samsung phone is all most people need as not all of need those features reserved for high range phones

    2. Davin Peterson said on August 11, 2023 at 1:59 pm

      I’m tired of all these Apple stories and no stories on Android saving a life
      Android also has an SOS feature.
      People stop buying Apple and buy Android.
      I want to hear a story about Android saving someone’s life and not Apple all the time

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