Apple’s iOS 12 will give 911 callers the ability to share their location with first responders quickly and securely, Apple reported in a press release on Monday.
While around 80 percent of 911 calls come from mobile devices, “outdated, landline-era infrastructure often makes it difficult for 911 centers to quickly and accurately obtain a mobile caller’s location,” Apple reported.
Apple’s technology is not so much brand new as it is upgraded. It released HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location) in 2015, a function that provides an estimate location for 911 calls using cell towers as well as the iPhone’s GPS.
The company announced that it would be partnering with RapidSOS — an emergency tech company with a secure data pipeline — in order to streamline the distribution of HELO information to 911 centers.
In anticipation of privacy concerns, Apple reported that “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.”
Apple said that their new technology would exceed the FCC’s projected requirements for accurate location calculation “even in challenging, dense, urban environments.”
“This new feature allows Apple to make these benefits available to local 911 centers now rather than years from now.”
Follow Aaron B. Andrews on Twitter