Apple has announced that people who call 911 from their iPhone will be able to automatically share their exact location with first responders,
The feature, which will only be available to users in the U.S. at launch, is slated to become available later this year with the launch of iOS 12.
To enable this new feature, Apple is using its HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location) technology, launched in 2015, which estimates the caller’s location using a variety of sources, including cell towers as well as GPS and Wi-Fi access point data. Apple will also use technology from emergency technology company RapidSOS to share HELO location data with 911 centers.
“When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.
This data will only be available to the 911 center responding to the call; it cannot be used for any non-emergency purpose, Apple said.
RapidSOS already has an iOS app called RapidSOS Beacon with similar functionality. However, in iOS 12 this will be built right into the operating system itself.
Apple’s iOS 12 (officially announced during the company’s WWDC conference in early June) will likely launch in September, alongside the likely launch of Apple’s new iPhones.
It brings a number of improvements, including better performance, group notifications, reports on how you’re using the device, the ability to set usage limits for apps, Siri shortcuts, group FaceTime, new Animoji and more.
The update will be available to iPhone 5S, iPhone SE, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and iPhone X.