In the near future, when you call for emergency services in the US, Apple will automatically share your location with dispatchers.
Apple’s next operating system, iOS 12, will be released later this year, and feature a function where the caller’s location will be shared with dispatchers to help them more quickly figure out where they are, the company said in a release June 18. Since 2015, iPhones have been able to pinpoint their users’ locations relatively accurately, using a combination of GPS and nearby wifi networks, a technology the company calls HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location). It’ll combine HELO with technology from RapidSOS, an emergency-services telecommunications company, to accurately locate those in need to the closest emergency services personnel. Android’s phone app shares users’ GPS location during emergency calls.
Apple maintains that its users’ location data will remain private, even when it’s shared with authorities. “User data cannot be used for any non-emergency purpose and only the responding 911 center will have access to the user’s location during an emergency call,” the company said.
iOS 12 will be compatible with every iPhone model up to the iPhone 5s.