iOS 12 is set-up to automatically deliver quicker and more reliable information to assist in pinpointing the location of 911 calls to emergency response centers in the U.S.
It seems there has been a problem between an outdated emergency system which was set-up to be compatible with land-line phones and today’s newer mobile handset technology. The majority (roughly 80%) of 911 calls that come through 911 centers are now from mobile devices. The problem stems from the emergency call centers not being able to pinpoint where the mobile phone call is located, only the location of the mobile device tower transmitting the call, and from there the operator must use other methods to pinpoint the caller’s location. Apple plans to change that with the next software update, which is iOS 12 launching this fall, users do not have to install an app on their phone in order for their location to be known, and the update is free.
Apple and RapidSOS, a New York startup, have partnered to develop an approach to send location data from an iPhone to a NG911 “clearinghouse” which will be accessible to emergency calling centers. The report states that only the 911 emergency center will be able to see and respond to the data of the incoming call. Apple states that the data information cannot be used for non-emergency purposes. Some 911 centers already have the compatible software, whereas other centers will have to install upgrades to their software system.