Apple's iOS 12 securely and automatically shares emergency location with 911

Apple to Provide More Precise Location Data for iPhone 911 Calls

Apple's HELO tech doesn't share your exact location - instead, it estimates your location by using your cell tower's data, as well as other sources like Global Positioning System and WiFi Acess Points which can be used by 911 responders.

Apple is trying to solve a problem caused by the technological mismatch between a 50-year-old system built for landlines and today's increasingly sophisticated smartphones.

With its announcement on Monday, Apple said it will use emergency technology company RapidSOS's Internet Protocol-based data pipeline to quickly and securely share HELO location data with 911 centres, and said this will improve response time when lives and property are at risk.

The update is expected to roll out later this year as part of iOS 12, the next version of Apple's mobile operating system.

We expect iOS 12 to launch in the fall, and with it all iPhones from the iPhone 5s through to the iPhone X will use the RapidSOS system during emergency calls.

Apple has announced a new emergency calling feature for iOS 12, which wasn't revealed at WWDC two weeks ago.

When the feature becomes available, 'Apple phones will send fast and accurate device location to the NG911 Clearinghouse when a user dials 9-1-1, ' RapidSOS explained in a blog post.

RapidSOS is free for emergency response centers, but is now used by less than half nationwide. "When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance".

RapidSOS's technology integrates with existing software installed at many 911 centers, which is how they'll receive the data. So Apple was quick to note in its statement that your location data will be shared securely and the feature can not be used for non-emergency functions.

Tom Wheeler, a former chairman for the Federal Communications Commission, believes Apple's new approach for locating 911 calls will set a new industry standard.

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