Home News Location Data Automatically Sent to 911 in iOS 12

Location Data Automatically Sent to 911 in iOS 12

Jun 20, 2018
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We just learned from Apple that iOS 12 is going to automatically send location data to 911. The location data will be securely and safely transmitted to the first responders, which is definitely a much-needed change.

When it comes to emergency response time, we all have heard the stories about 911 operators not being able to get an accurate location on a cell phone. With the new iOS 12 update, the 911 operators will now be able to finally get more accurate location information from the call. Read on to learn more about this new change coming in iOS 12.

iOS 12 Will Automatically Now Share Location Data with 911

It is estimated that about 80 percent of all 911 calls these days are coming in from cell phones. The infrastructure that used to work with landlines though, does not work with the cell phone technology. This means that the 911 operators are not able to get an accurate or precise location regarding where the 911 call from a cell phone is coming from. Obviously, this is causing delays for the first responders to get to the location of the emergency. The 911 centers are having trouble quickly pinpointing the location of the 911 call, but this problem is about to be resolved in iOS 12.

With iOS 12, the 911 operators are now going to be able to automatically get your location data. This will provide a more accurate and timely response to the 911 call. Apple announced a deal with RapidSOS in order to better serve those calling 911. RapidSOS is an emergency technology company that provides a data pipeline which is Internet Protocol-based.

Way back in 2015, Apple began using HELO, which is Hybridized Emergency Location. Essentially, it would estimate where the 911 call is coming from using things like GPS, on-device information, and cell towers. This HELO location data will be shared in the iOS 12 update as well.

Location Data Accuracy Important for 911 Operators

So between the HELO and the RapidSOS system, the 911 call centers will now be able to get more accurate information on where you are calling from. This will help improve the response time, which can save lives when seconds count.

With the RapidSOS technology, it can easily be integrated with the software that many existing 911 call centers use already. The 911 call centers have to use standard protocols for the industry. RapidSOS will be delivering the location data to the 911 centers. That means not much has to be done to get the 911 call center ready for this change.

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, said that the company thinks that 911 call centers should have the best technology available. 911 call centers are very important during an emergency. These new tools on iOS will ensure first responders can get to the people when in need. Apple is still focused on privacy too, meaning the user location data cannot be used outside of an emergency situation. Only the 911 call center responding will have the location data as well, which limits who sees this information.

Location Data Sharing to 911 a Huge Benefit

This is all coming after new regulations by the FCC, which will require the carriers to be able to locate the caller from within 50 meters. With the new FCC regulation, 80 percent of callers have to be identified within 50 meters by 2021. Even now, the iOS location services can do this and more, even in the more urban locations.

The new Next Generation 911 is quickly approaching, and with the help of Apple, can get here sooner than later. Even better news is that iOS 12 will soon be released, with an expected release sometime in the fall. While we do not know specifics, we can assume it likely will be in September.

Tell us in the comments what you think of the location data being sent out to 911 call centers in iOS 12. Do you think this is a good idea? Are you someone who has used 911 on your cell phone before? Have you heard the horror stories of 911 not being able to find the person due to them using their cell phone? What else in iOS 12 are you most looking forward to?

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Nick Pike
Nick brings nearly 8 years of experience in mobile app development to the App Informers team. His knowledge in the inner workings of app development, marketing, and monetization add a unique perspective to the team.