IOS 12 Will Share Precise Location Data For 911 Calls


The service will allow 911 operators to more easily locate callers in order to dispatch responders quickly and accurately to the scene of an emergency, the company explained in a press release.

The firm offers an iPhone app called RapidSOS Haven today that iPhone users can install to use to share precise location data with emergency services, and iOS 12 will automatically include its benefits for free for users in the United States - without installing an additional app.

An estimated 80 percent of roughly 240 million emergency calls in the US this year will come from mobile phones, most of which are capable of precisely tracking where their users are. Apple already attempts to do that on the iPhone using Hybridized Emergency Location (HELO), but more accuracy is required.

Efforts like HELO, Advanced Mobile Location in Europe, and now Next Generation 911 integration in iOS 12 are meant to combat the fact that roughly four out of five calls to emergency services come from mobile devices, Apple says, despite call centers relying on landline-era infrastructure.

"Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal", said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO.

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Apple this morning announced a new feature in iOS 12 which will automatically share your location with first responders when USA users dial 911 using their iPhone.

The Wall Street Journal reported in January that AT&T and T-Mobile recently started using Apple's HELO, while Verizon and Sprint were testing a similar system from Google.

"This new functionality is an example of how companies and first responders can use technology to dramatically improve public safety", said Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman from 2013 to 2017.

The 911 support was not announced during Apple's software-heavy WWDC keynote earlier this month, where a number of other privacy, security and A.I. -powered features were introduced as coming later this year in iOS 12.

Only the 911 calling centers will be able to see the data during the call, and none of it can be used for non-emergency purposes, according to Apple.