IOS 12 Will Share Your Location with 911 During an Emergency Call

Apple Aims to Solve Problems Locating 911 Calls for Help

The location data, Apple said, can't be used for nonemergency purposes and will be accessible only to the 911 call centres during an emergency.

Brent Stringer, assistant director of the 911 Communications Services Department in Paducah, said the department's current system generally needs about 10 seconds to pinpoint the location of a caller using a mobile device down to the exact building the caller is in.

Upwards of 80% of 911 calls are made from mobile phones. The new feature will allow the dispatchers to better locate Chicago callers who use their iPhones.

Apple today announced it will also use emergency technology company RapidSOS's Internet Protocol-based data pipeline to quickly and securely share HELO location data with 911 centers, improving response time when lives and property are at risk.

"911 telecommunicators do extraordinary work managing millions of emergencies with little more than a voice connection", Martin said in a prepared statement.

According to Apple, almost four in five 911 calls are presently coming from mobile devices, but 911 centers still have technologies built primarily for the landline-era infrastructure, so locating 911 mobile callers is extremely hard.

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Apple is trying to drag the U.S.'s antiquated system for handling 911 calls into the 21st century. The technology is developed by emergency technology company RapidSOS. In those cases, calls from mobile numbers have to be located using cell tower information from carriers, which can result in a radius of hundreds of yards.

The company recently announced a partnership with Uber, which adds a button for calling 911 inside of the ride-hailing app. Google did a pilot program with RapidSOS recently, but does not now include the option in Android. This will allow emergency services to locate callers in an instant even if the caller can not provide any information over the phone.

They'll be part of iOS 12, the next version of Apple's iPhone software, which the company will release in September as a free update.

Privacy concerns have been at the center of this sort of location sharing in the past.

“Were thrilled that Apple is giving 911 centers access to device-based location data via a thoroughly-tested, standards-based approach, ” said Rob McMullen, President of the National Emergency Number Association, the 911 Association. A company spokeswoman says that it's deployed in less than half of the United States.

iPhones also have an emergency SOS feature, which automatically calls emergency services and texts any emergency contacts your location.

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